Business in Brief: Electra Confirms Talks to Buy Golan Telecom

Plus500 shares dive with U.K. crackdown on financial spread betting | TASE dips, with banks up and Teva down

The offices of Golan Telecom.
Eyal Toueg

Electra confirms talks to buy Golan Telecom 

Electra Consumer Products confirmed Tuesday that it’s in talks to buy a controlling share in Golan Telecom for 300 to 350 million shekels, but cautioned that reports about the negotiations could undermine the terms and possibly even torpedo the deal. The company’s share closed down 1% Tuesday. Electra owns retail chains Mahsanei Hashmal, Shekem Electric, Ace and Sensor. These homeware and appliance stores could serve as Golan sales points. The company also has a license to import and sell Suny and Huawei smartphones. (Amitai Ziv)

Plus500 shares dive with U.K. crackdown on financial spread betting

Israeli-owned Plus500 saw its shares fall 28% Tuesday as Britain’s financial watchdog joined other European regulators in a crackdown on financial spread betting, a fast-growing 3.5 billion pound ($4.5 billion) industry where most retail investors lose money. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it had found evidence of poor conduct across the market over the past six years and that people using the most popular financial betting product - known as a contract for difference (CFD) - lost 2,200 pounds ($2,805) a year on average. “We have serious concerns that an increasing number of retail clients are trading in CFD products without an adequate understanding of the risks involved,” the FCA’s Executive Director of Strategy and Competition Christopher Woolard said. IG Group, which has 40 percent of Britain’s financial spread betting active accounts, fell more than 30 percent, making it the biggest loser across major European stocks. Rivals CMC Markets and Plus500 posted similar falls. Plus500 said the proposed measures would affect about a fifth of its revenue.(Reuters)

TASE dips, with banks up and Teva down

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished Tuesday’s trading session mixed with a negative bias, as the blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index lost 0.3% to close at 1,449 points, and the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index also lost 0.3% to close at 1,268 points. Bank shares increased 0.8%, led upward by Bank Discount, which gained 2%. Oil and gas shares increased 1.1%, while communications shares dropped 0.6%. Total turnover was 1.6 billion shekels. Notable shares included Teva, which attracted a high turnover of 260 million shekels on news that Teva Generics CEO Siggi Olafsson was departing. The share dropped 4.9% after an arbitrage gap opened in New York last night on the news. (Omri Zerachovitz)