Business in Brief: Carolina Lemke Seeks to Hire Kim Kardashian

Carolina Lemke seeks to hire Kim Kardashian ■ Shekel strengthens to record levels ■ Fantasy Network investing in online cannabis products company

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American TV personality Kim Kardashian in Cannes, southern France.
American TV personality Kim Kardashian in Cannes, southern France.Credit: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File

Carolina Lemke seeks to hire Kim Kardashian

Israeli fashion glasses company Carolina Lemke Berlin is in talks to hire American reality star Kim Kardashian West as its spokesmodel for a global launch, parent company Castro-Hoodies said on Wednesday. Castro and Hoodies completed a merger in the past few days. If the talks with Kardashian West’s representatives pan out, she will be the face of Carolina Lemke as it seeks to bring its chain to the United States. For years, the company has been represented by Israeli model Bar Refaeli. The company told the stock exchange that the terms were not finalized and the deal was still uncertain. Its share price rose 2% on Thursday. The talks with Kardashian West are being led by Yossi Gabizon, one of Castro’s major shareholders and the founder of Carolina Lemke in 2011. Carolina Lemke specializes in fashionable eyeglasses made in China and sold at kiosks for relatively low prices. (Eran Azran)

Shekel strengthens to record levels

The shekel strengthened against foreign currencies over the past week, pushing it to a record not seen since the Bank of Israel introduced the current system to track the shekel’s value in 1999. Under the system, the shekel’s value is calculated against a weighted average of 26 currencies. The shekel’s value fell under 77 points for the first time on Thursday, closing at 76.765 points. This indicates that the shekel is particularly strong, and comes despite efforts by senior officials at the central bank to push the shekel down by buying up billions of dollars, which swelled the central bank’s currency reserves over the past decade. The central bank has hinted that the strong shekel could delay its plans to start raising interest rates, after three and a half years of leaving its representative rate unchanged at 0.1%. (Avi Vaksman)

Fantasy Network investing in online cannabis products company

Fantasy Network, which recently shifted its operations from the field of blockchain to cannabis, announced on Thursday morning that would be buying shares in Cbdigital, a U.S. company that sells CBD-based products online. CBD is derived from cannabis. Under the agreement, Fantasy Network will invest $400,000 in exchange for 10% of Cbdigital’s shares. Payment will include $200,000 in cash and $200,000 in Fantasy Network’s shares. Fantasy Network will also get an option to buy 15% of Cbdigital’s shares for $1.8 million within the next three years, as well as the right to launch a merger with Cbdigital or to take it public in the United States or Israel. (Eran Azran)

The year that was: Big companies gained, smaller companies dropped

The blue-chip Tel Aviv-35 Index increased by a sharp 15% during the Jewish year 5778, which ends on Sunday night. Thursday was the last day of trade. This comes after a 2% decrease in the previous Jewish year. Last year’s drop was primarily due to the pharmaceutical companies, which have a heavy weight in the index. Despite Thursday’s relatively heavy losses, most of Israel’s indexes are finishing the year with gains. During this period, Wall Street hit record highs while European shares languished. Israel’s index of smaller companies, the Tel Aviv-90, gained only 7% for the year, after gaining 24% the year before. The bank index was Tel Aviv’s biggest gainer, up 20.5%, even after losing 4.4% over the past three days after the government began selling off shares of Bank Leumi and Shari Arison announced that she’d be selling her controlling stake in Bank Hapoalim. Shares in those two banks gained 0.6% and 1.4% on Thursday, respectively. The SME-60 index of mid-caps - the 60 companies next on the list in terms of market cap after those on the 125 - lost 14% for the year, following a loss of 4% the year before. The losses are largely attributed to sales by mutual funds. Total turnover was a high 3.5 billion shekels. (Guy Erez)