Business in Brief

New ad standards for Israeli websites

Israeli Internet sites are standardizing their advertising formats for banners and video to make it easier for media buyers and advertisers. But the big winners are expected to be the users, who will find fewer annoying pop-up, pop-under and animated banner ads. The industry committee that monitors Internet use approved the new recommendations on Monday. Websites are to stop using pop-up ads altogether, while pop-under ads will be limited to once in a 12-hour period per user. Only two banner ads will be allowed on a single page and ads can be inserted into videos only once every eight minutes in most cases, with the exception of television series, where it will be once every six minutes. Ads should not use more than 40% of users' CPU. The new standards are designed to conform to the requirements of the international Interactive Advertising Bureau. (Maya Epstein )

Another blow to Ampal bondholders as Discount takes control of Gadot Tankers

While the bondholders of Yossi Maiman's Ampal-American Israel Corporation are battling in court in New York over the debt restructuring agreement and control of the company, Israel Discount Bank took control of one of the company's prime assets Tuesday morning. The bank received permission from Tel Aviv District Court Judge Varda Alshech to seize the 67 million shares of Gadot Chemical Tankers & Terminals the banks had received as security from Ampal to secure its $60 million debt to the bank. Alshech also appointed two liquidators for the company, who have started negotiating for Gadot's sale. Bondholders hope the sale will bring in enough to leave some $40 million after paying off the debt to Discount. (Oren Freund and Yasmin Gueta )

Two major vehicle companies to merge

Two of Israel's largest vehicle companies are joining forces. Kardan Vehicle, which is better known in the leasing and rental car market under its Avis franchise, is expected to merge with Union Motors Israel, the importer of Chevrolet and other General Motors brands. TKArdan Vehicle is jointly owned by the Eini family's UMI and Joseph Grinfeld's Kardan Israel. The deal has yet to receive approval from Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo. The companies officially requested approval on Monday. The shareholders also want to buy out GM's 10% share in UMI as part of the deal. GM is the only car manufacturer that is a partner in its local importer. Grinfeld and the Einis would then each own 50% of the merged company. (Daniel Schmil )

Strauss to start selling coffee capsules for Nespresso at a 25% discount

Strauss is trying to move into the coffee capsule market, and is launching a line to compete with Nestle's Nespresso brand. Strauss will try to tempt owners of Nespresso machines with prices 20% to 25% lower than the NIS 2.22 to NIS 2.44 per pod they pay now. Strauss will charge NIS 17 for 10 one-cup capsules. They will come in four flavors and will go on sale on Sunday at supermarket chains including Rami Levy, Cost 365, Yeinot Bittan and Tiv Taam. Strauss expects to expand to most other chains in the future. Nespresso holds some 1,700 patents on its capsules and machines, but the patents expired this year. Strauss estimates the value of the coffee capsule market in Israel at NIS 200 million a year, of which Nespresso has a 80% share. (Adi Dovrat-Meseritz )