Business in Brief: Teva Patent Dispute With Swiss Firm Reaches U.S. Supreme Court

Warburg Pincus in talks with Allied Holding to sell it Leumi Card stake ■ Corning reportedly in talks to buy Israel’s Teldor Cables ■ Taptica shares plunge after CEO quits following fraud ruling ■ Tel Aviv shares fall as optimism on U.S.-China trade ebbs

FILE Photo: A Teva Pharmaceutical Industries building is seen in Jerusalem, Israel, December 14, 2017.
Ammar Awad/REUTERS

Warburg Pincus in talks with Allied Holding to sell it Leumi Card stake

Warburg Pincus, the U.S. private equity firm that is buying Leumi Card, is in talks to sell part of the Israeli credit card company to Allied Holdings, an Israeli investment company chaired by Prof. Itzhak Swary. Under the deal, Allied would take between 5% and 10% of Leumi Card at a 2.5 billion shekel ($670 million) valuation. That is the same valuation at which Warburg agreed to buy control of Leumi Card from Bank Leumi and Azrieli Group. Allied has a low profile, but its holdings include Champion Motors, the Israeli importer of Volkswagen Group cars, and electronics importer Newpan. It shares the concession for the Carmel Tunnels toll road in Haifa, and owns real estate in Israel and abroad. Warburg has been seeking one or more partners for its Leumi Card holding since regulators barred a plan to sell back 20% of the shares to Leumi. (Michael Rochvarger)

Corning reportedly in talks to buy Israel’s Teldor Cables

Corning Inc., the U.S. maker of specialty glass and ceramics, is in talks to buy Israel’s Teldor Cables & Systems at a $50 million valuation, sources have told TheMarker. The sellers are Kibbutz Ein Dor and the private equity fund Tene Investment Fund, each of which owns about 50% stake in the maker of cables and wires used primarily in the telecommunications industry. Ein Dor might retain a small stake in Teldor, which operates plants on the kibbutz and at Kibbutz Geshur. For Tene, the valuation means it will have earned relatively little on its Teldor investment. The fund bought its stake from Ein Dor a decade ago at a $46 million valuation, amounting to a return of less than 9% over the life of the investment. If Corning goes through with the acquisition it will be its second in Israel, after its purchase of Mobile Access in 2011 for $180 million. Neither Ein Dor nor Tene would comment on the report. (Guy Erez)

Taptica shares plunge after CEO quits following fraud ruling

Shares of Taptica International plunged in London Tuesday after the Israeli mobile-advertising company said CEO Hagai Tal was resigning, a day after a Delaware court found he had committed fraud. In a suit brought by Private Equity firm Great Hill Equity Partners, Delaware Chancery Court ruled that Tal had committed fraud in connection with statements he made about the $115 million sale in 2011 of a e-payment-processing company called Plimus, in which he was both a shareholder and CEO. Great Hill alleged that Tal had provided false or distorted seller disclosures before the sale, including failing to disclose problems with payment-clearing providers like Paypal. “The plaintiffs in the case are entitled to restitution for breaches of certain representations and warranties,” Taptica said in statement.  Shares of Taptica, which had a net profit of $10.8 million on sales of $144 million in the first half, ended down 37% at 197 pence ($2.52). (Yoram Gabison)

Teva patent dispute with Swiss firm reaches U.S. Supreme Court

Teva Pharmaceuticals duked it out in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday with a Swiss pharmaceutical company, which is trying to salvage a patent behind its lucrative anti-nausea drug in a case that could make it easier to cancel key patents, especially among smaller drugmakers. Justices asked tough questions of both sides during an hour of oral arguments in an appeal by Helsinn Healthcare of a lower court’s decision to invalidate its patent on Aloxi, which paved the way for Teva to launch a generic version of the drug in March. Aloxi is used to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy. The Supreme Court previously refused Helsinn’s request to block the lower court ruling while it considered the company’s case, allowing Teva to bring its Aloxi copycat to market. Teva claims Helsinn forfeited its patent right by reaching a marketing deal for the drug with another firm before the drug was patented. (Reuters)

Tel Aviv shares fall as optimism on U.S.-China trade ebbs

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange joined world markets in moving sharply lower Tuesday as optimism over a rapprochement on trade between the U.S. and China faded. The TA-35  and TA-125 indexes each fell about 1.3% to close at 1,631.68 and 1,472.21 points, respectively, on turnover of 1.33 billion shekels ($360 million). Bezeq group shares were hit hard again, with Bezeq itself down 2.7% to 4.07 shekels and parent company B Communications losing 7.6% to 29.20. TowerJazz reversed course after rallying Monday, falling 5.7% by close to 59.88. Among gainers, Property & Building shares jumped 5.9% to 298.40 after parent Discount Investment Corporation offered to buy 20% of the shares at 290 shekels each. BioTime rose 4.8% to 5.63 after reporting positive preclinical results for its HyStem technology, in mitigating ischemic brain injury. Bezeq said Monday it raised 578.3 million shekels in a bond offering to institutional investors at an annual interest rate of 2.7%. (Eran Azran)