Business in Brief

REIT 1 buys 15% of Dizengoff Center

Edri-El Israel Assets completed the sale Thursday of 6,000 square meters of the Dizengoff Center to REIT 1, for NIS 145 million. The veteran mall is located in central Tel Aviv, and the area sold houses a number of notable chains. These include Hamashbir Lazarchan, Zara, American Eagle Outfitters, Nike, Fox Home, a Mega supermarket and a Holmes Place fitness center − representing about 15% of the mall’s commercial space. Edri-El will continue to hold another 15%. The sale price isn’t indicative of the mall’s total value, since the section sold is considered particularly prestigious. At the same time REIT 1 also bought 25% of the Shmona Center in Kiryat Shmona from Edri-El for NIS 27 million. ‏(Oren Freund‏)

Communications Ministry disconnects Bezeq revenue source

Flush with success from reforming the cellular phone market, the Communications Ministry has now targeted the landline providers. The ministry decided Thursday to slash the interconnect charges paid by cell phone and competing landline providers to landline companies at the receiving end of calls by 70%. The rates go down from an average of 3.5 agorot to 1.04 agorot. The big loser will be Bezeq, which the ministry estimates will be deprived of NIS 90 million in revenues, while the cellular operators stand to save the equivalent amount. Bezeq can make up about NIS 30 million of the lost revenues through savings to its Pelephone subsidiary. However, analyst Uri Licht estimated the loss to Bezeq at NIS 140 million in revenues. ‏(Amitai Ziv‏)

Alshech dismisses Hapoalim bid to seize Elbit Imaging shares

Justice Varda Alshech of the Tel Aviv District Court Thursday rejected a petition filed Wednesday by Bank Hapoalim to appoint attorney Giora Erdinast as receiver for Motti Zisser’s 48.4% controlling shares in Elbit Imaging. The shares are pledged to the bank against NIS 1 billion in debt owed by Elbit Imaging’s parent company, Europe-Israel, and others. In doing so Alshech is effectively sending both sides back to the negotiating table. The decision came two days after the judge also rejected a petition by Europe-Israel to appoint accountant Chen Bardichev as trustee over a settlement by all involved parties. ‏(Michael Rochvarger‏)

Rosario’s Eblagon setting up $100m private equity fund

Ruben Eblagon, chairman and 60% owner of the investment house and underwriter Rosario Capital, is establishing a new private equity fund for investing in mid-sized public or private companies with up to $100 million in turnover. The fund will target Israeli companies, or companies with a strong Israeli connection. Eblagon is trying to persuade Migdal Insurance chairman Aharon Fogel, a former director general of the Finance Ministry, to assume a leading role in the fund. ‏(Eran Azran‏)