Danya Cebus Probe Unlikely to Unravel Africa Israel Sale

But Moti Ben-Moshe might seek better terms in light of the changed circumstances

Danya Cebus CEO Ronen Gisburg with his lawyer, April 9, 2017
Ofer Vaknin

The arrest of Danya Cebus CEO Ronen Gisburg is not likely to upset the pending acquisition of its parent company, Africa Israel Investments, by the Israeli-German entrepreneur Moti Ben-Moshe, sources close to the deal said on Wednesday.

Ben-Moshe won a bidding process to buy Africa Israel in a bailout. But the deal still has to be approved by the Tel Aviv District Court and then put to a vote by creditors.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Ben-Moshe declined to speculate on the impact, if any, of the police probe. “Based only on an arrest, we can’t come to any new conclusion. We will wait until the facts are clarified,” he said.

Some speculated, however, that ben-Moshe may seek to renegotiate terms to get a better valuation.

Meanwhile, a source close to Africa’s bondholders, who are counting on the deal to help reduce the company’s 3 billion shekel ($870 million) debt load, said Danya Cebus would in the worst case end up paying a penalty even if the probe results in an indictment. “It’s a lot of noise but doesn’t involve significant money,” he said.

Africa Israel shares ended down 1.75% at 23 agorot (7 cents) on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Under the deal, Ben-Moshe’s Alon Blue Square will buy 56% of Africa Israel for 1.27 billion shekels in cash and another 127 million shekels issued to bondholders.