Business in Brief: Nice Systems to Buy U.S. Behavioral Analytics Firm Mattersight for $91 Million

Foreigners lead a surge in forex trading ■ Teva to trim board to 11 members, from 13 ■ Banks lead Tel Aviv shares higher

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Visitors stand in front of a stock market ticker screen in the lobby of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, August 4, 2016.
Visitors stand in front of a stock market ticker screen in the lobby of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, August 4, 2016.Credit: Bloomberg

Nice Systems to buy U.S. behavioral analytics firm Mattersight for $91 million

Nice Systems said Thursday it had agreed to buy Mattersight, a provider of cloud-based analytics for customer service organizations, for $91 million. The Israeli company said it would offer Mattersight shareholders $2.70 a share for their stock, a 26% premium on its closing price in New York Wednesday. The share price of the Chicago-based company has fallen 34% in the last 12 months. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to customary conditions such as regulatory approval. The acquisition is expected to be nondilutive to non-GAAP earnings in 2018, Nice said. The deal comes as Nice moves into analytical tools that allow companies to sift through large amounts of data to spot fraud and security threats amid slowing sales of call center systems and surveillance of buildings and transport networks. Shares of Nice ended up 1.55% at 339.80 shekels ($94.76). (Yoram Gabison)

Foreigners lead a surge in forex trading 

Foreign currency trading in the Israeli market rose 26% in the first quarter of 2018 from the previous quarter as foreign investors piled in, the Bank of Israel said Thursday. Non-Israelis’ trading increased by about 1.5 percentage points to 37.6% at the end of the first quarter, the bank said. Overall trading averaged $8.5 billion a day — $517 billion for the quarter —  up from $417 billion in fourth-quarter 2017. The shekel weakened against the dollar 1.4% and 4.2% against the euro, despite the dollar’s weakening against most major currencies. It lost 2.8% on the euro, 5.4% on the Japanese yen, 2% on the Swiss franc and 4.2% on the British pound. Foreign shekel-dollar trading came as volatility in the exchange rate grew, the Bank of Israel said. On Thursday, the greenback weakened 0.3% to a representative rate of 3.570 shekels. (Hagai Amit)

Teva to trim board to 11 members, from 13

Three directors are stepping down from the board at Teva Pharmaceuticals and only one new director will replace them, the company said Thursday. Analysts and investors criticized management and the board for overpaying for Allergan’s generic drug business in 2016. Teva has since replaced most of its management and reduced the average tenure and age of its directors. In the latest changes, Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, a Tel Aviv University professor, will be the only new nominee at a June 5 shareholders meeting, the company said. Galia Maor, Gabrielle Sulzberger and Dan Suesskind will not stand for reelection, leaving the board with 11 members, down from the current 13. Suesskind, a former Teva chief financial officer, was brought in last year as the company grappled with a financial crisis. Maor, a former CEO of Bank Leumi, has served since 2012. Sulzberger, who has served since 2015, is a general partner of the Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners investment fund. (Reuters)

Banks lead Tel Aviv shares higher

Tel Aviv shares ended higher Thursday as Wall Street recovered on the back of gains for tech shares. In Israel, bank shares led the way as the benchmark TA-35 index gained nearly 0.5% to end at 1,46689 points. The TA-125 added 0.4% to 1,331.40, on turnover of 1.49 billion shekels ($420 million). Bank Leumi led the most actives, rising 1.7% to 21.68 shekels. Israel Discount Bank climbed 1.8% to 10.30. Nova rose 6% to 98.40 after it reported it expected an order of more than $20 million from an unnamed Chinese semiconductor maker over the next 12 months. Israel Chemicals advanced 2.6% to 16.42 and Super-Sol rose 2.65% to 20.89. Rami Levy edged up 0.1% to 165.80 after it reported that antitrust authorities approved its acquisition of Good Pharm. On the losing side, Frutarom shed 1.6% to 330.00, extending its run lower to five straight sessions.  (Guy Erez)