Business in Brief: Court Awards Alona Bar-On Shares in Parent Company of Globes Financial Daily

Foresight soars after Mobileye-Intel deal; Welfare minster cited by Securities Authority lawyer for possible ethics violations; Assets grow 3.6% in 2016; Tel Aviv shares end lower as bank rally stalls.

Stock prices flash on an electronic screen displaying world clocks at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.
Bloomberg

Court awards Alona Bar-On shares in parent company of Globes financial daily

Alona Bar-On will get control of Monitin, the parent company of the financial daily Globes, with her 106 million-shekel ($28.9 million) bid for the share once controlled by fallen tycoon Eliezer Fishman, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eitan Orenstein ruled Tuesday. The decision was a surprise because all the receivers for the Monitin shares had recommended that they be sold to Russian oligarch David Davidovich, who had raised his bid to 110 million shekels after the deadline to file. Orenstein said he decided on the acceptance of the lower offer from Bar-On, who is already a Monitin shareholder and daughter of founder Haim Bar-On, because he found Davidovich’s offer “problematic” and not significantly higher than Bar-On’s. Davidovich is likely to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. The staff of Globes – a rival to TheMarker – are divided. Management has expressed support for Davidovich while the journalists’ union backs Bar-On, although four editors came out in favor of Davidovich. (Nati Tucker)

Foresight soars after Mobileye-Intel deal

Shares of Foresight Autonomous Holdings, a tiny Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded company developing collision-prevention technology, rocketed higher after Intel announced Monday it was buying Mobileye for $15.3 billion. Foresight shares jumped 10% right after the news and continued higher on Tuesday, closing up 8.8% at 2.63 shekels (72 cents) and raising its market cap to 191 million shekels. Just before the Mobileye deal was announced, Foresight said it increased the size of a secondary securities offering by 15% to 23.5 million shekels, selling shares at 1.90 shekels each and warrants for the right to buy shares in the future at 2.92 each. The company will use the proceeds to accelerate research and development and boost its shareholders’ equity ahead of an initial public offering on Wall Street. Foresight’s technology is based on a homeland-security platform developed by another startup called Magna that uses two cameras aboard the vehicle to create three-dimensional pictures. (Guy Erez)

Welfare minster cited by Securities Authority lawyer for possible ethics violations

For the first time ever, the Israel Securities Authority said in public that it was investigating suspicions that Welfare Minister Haim Katz had committed ethics violations. The allegations were raised on Monday during the trial of financial adviser Moti Ben-Ari, where ISA attorney Eran Shaham-Shavit told the court that “Knesset member Haim Katz was given favors in exchange for advancing interests related to Equital and the defendant [Ben-Ari] connected with, among other things, the legislative process for Amendment 44 of the Securities Law.” The issue concerns Ben-Ari’s presence at 2011 deliberations by the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee, which Katz chaired at the time. The panel was debating the amendment, which would bar controlling shareholders from redeeming bonds they hold in their companies before other bondholders had been repaid. Bar-Ari was finance director of the holding Equital, which controls Isramco, among other companies, and was also a Katz associate but was introduced to other MKs simply as a financial adviser. (Efrat Neuman)

Assets grow 3.6% in 2016

Israeli held 3.4 trillion shekels ($930 billion) in financial assets at the end of last year, a 3.6% increase over the same time in 2015, the Bank of Israel said Tuesday. Most of the 119 billion-shekel rise was in cash and bank current accounts, which grew by 51 billion shekels, the central bank said. Assets held in time deposits climbed 41 billion shekels and holding of corporate bonds by 24 billion. Holdings of short-term notes dropped by 19 billion.

Tel Aviv shares end lower as bank rally stalls

Tel Aviv shares ended lower Tuesday as the rally in bank shares stalled and tech stocks finished lower. The blue chip TA-35 index finished down 0.35% at 1,435.09 points, while the TA-25 lost 0.25% to 1,279.30, on turnover of 1.27 billion shekels ($350 million). Banks ended a four-day run of gains and were led lower by an 0.6% drop in Hapoalim to 24.10 shekels and an 0.5% decline in Leumi to 16.88. Compugen paced tech stocks lower, falling 3.2% to 16.69 and TowerJazz fell 2.8% to 82.28. Perrigo weighed on the market with a 1.6% decline to 252.60. Africa Residences rose 1.7% to 76.90 after it said 2016 net profit soared 73% to 377 million shekels. Somoto advanced 2.1% to 3.10 as net more than doubled to 7.7 million shekels from 3.5 million in 2015. In foreign currency trading, the dollar weakened nearly 0.5% to 3.6610 shekels. (Shelly Appelberg)