Business in Brief: Israeli Reaches Settlement on Mobileye Insider Trading

Jefferies, BlueStar in alliance to distribute commentary on Israeli market ■ Supermarket shares pace market gains

File photo: The logo if Israeli driverless technology firm Mobileye on the building of their offices in Jerusalem March 13, 2017.
RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

Israeli reaches settlement on Mobileye insider trading

Ariel Darvasi, a genetics professor at the Hebrew University, will pay about $854,000 to settle U.S. claims he engaged in insider trading in Mobileye before the maker of self-driving vehicle technology was sold to Intel Corporation in March. Lawyers for Darvasi could not immediately be reached for comment on the agreement, which must be approved by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Darvasi and another Israeli, Amir Waldman, made “remarkably timed” purchases of Mobileye shares and call options before Intel’s $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye. The SEC said Darvasi made about $427,000 profit on the trades while Waldman earned $4.5 million, after the announcement caused shares of Mobileye to rise 28% in a single day. Darvasi’s settlement represents the profit he was accused of making plus a civil penalty of the same amount. Gregory Bruch, a lawyer for Waldman, said claims against his client were still pending and declined to comment further. (Reuters)

Somoto gets two buyout offers but casts doubt on them

Internet advertising firm Somoto said on Tuesday it had received two separate offers to buy the company, but cast doubts on whether they would come to fruition. Somoto said its board had not yet formally met to weigh either of the offers, but said it concluded from preliminary discussions with the group making the higher bid that the terms being offered were unrealistic. “We can’t be certain that the groups’ offers will turn into the basis for negotiations or a binding agreement to purchase the company’s shares,” it said. The offers from unidentified buyers were for 3.70 shekels ($1.04) and 4 shekels a share, which would value the company at between 275 million and 298 million shekels. Market speculation was that one of the bidders was the London-traded Israeli company Taptica, but its CEO, Hagai Tal, denied it. Somoto ended 5.7% higher at close Tuesday, at 3.29 shekels. (Shelly Appelberg)

Jefferies, BlueStar in alliance to distribute commentary on Israeli market

Investment bank Jefferies said on Tuesday it had formed an alliance with BlueStar Indexes to distribute to its institutional and wealth management clients a co-branded market commentary on Israel’s capital markets. Jefferies will also provide access to the benchmark BlueStar Indexes for Israeli equities and bonds. The initial co-branded report will be distributed monthly, starting in August. “This arrangement with BlueStar will provide Jefferies’ clients with insights on Israel’s economic outlook, macroeconomic policies and performance of the stock market,” said Peter Forlenza, global head of equities at Jefferies. “The distribution of such market intelligence and access to Indexes will be very helpful to our global institutional and wealth management clients seeking exposure to a broadly defined universe of Israeli technology companies and related investment products.” BlueStar Indexes provides analysis for the Israeli capital markets as well as benchmarks that track Israeli companies listed worldwide. (TheMarker Staff)

Supermarket shares pace market gains

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended higher Tuesday, led by supermarket shares, as the dollar and euro weakened against the shekel. The blue chip TA-35 index ended the day up 0.25% at 1,455.23 points, while the TA-125 added 0.3% to 1,305.05, on turnover of 1.19 billion shekels ($330 million). Rami Levy led grocers higher amid reports of troubles at No. 2 chain Yenot Bitan (See story on this page). Other big gainers were Frutarom, up 3% at 264 shekels, and Redhill, which jumped 12.9% to 3.75 after reporting its first-ever revenues from drug sales. It was just $500,000, but covered only a 20-day period. Bezeq group shares tumbled, led by a 6.4% drop in Internet Gold to 23.14. The dollar and euro both lost about 0.6% to Bank of Israel rates of 3.569 and 4.1579 shekels, respectively. “The shekel has finally weakened by several percent. However, the forces for strengthening the shekel remained unchanged,” said Jerry Cutiesteanu, CEO of Epsilon Mutual Fund. (Omri Zerachovitz)