Business in Brief: Ehud Barak to Keep Shares in Medical Marijuana Firm Until After U.S. IPO

Anchiano Therapeutics plans initial public offering in American depositary shares ■ Brown Hotels bids for Israir ■ Tel Aviv shares marks seventh day higher

FILE PHOTO: Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak smiles during a lecture at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Wednesday, September 21, 2016.
Charles Krupa / AP

Barak to hold on to his shares in InterCure until after U.S. IPO

Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister who is now chairman of InterCure, said Thursday he wouldn’t be selling his shares in the medical marijuana company until it completes an initial public offering ahead of listing on Wall Street. “I have no intention of selling any InterCure stock, until at least the end of the IPO on Nasdaq, and only after the end of the lock-up period after the issue,” Barak told TheMarker. His remarks came after a shareholders meeting to approve the options awarded when he was named chairman in September was delayed at the request of the Israel Securities Authority. The options are deep in the money and Barak is entitled to sell one-third of them, worth 12 million shekels ($3.3 million), after approval. The remainder vests in three years. All else being equal, a U.S. listing would likely increase the company’s stock market valuation. InterCure shares finished down 5.4% at 10.19 shekels. (Guy Erez)

Anchiano plans U.S. IPO for ADSs

Anchiano Therapeutics, an Israeli clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel cancer therapies, said Thursday it planned an initial public offering to raise $35 million in American depositary shares. In a prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said ADS holders would hold 44% of the company and that it eventually planned to delist from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Insider shareholders are committed to buying $17.5 million of the offering. Formerly called Biocancell, Anchiano is 31%-owned by Clal Biotechnology and is based in Jerusalem and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Inodiftagene vixteplasmid, its gene therapy for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, has been tested in six clinical trials. It core technology is based on Hebrew University Prof. Avraham Hochberg’s discovery of the H19 gene, which is associated with 40 types of cancer. Anchino shares ended down 1% at 10.78 shekels ($2.97) in Tel Aviv. (Yoram Gabison)

Brown Hotels makes high bid for Israir 

Brown Hotels, a chain of boutique properties, is making an offer for Israir that IDB Development Corporation, the airline’s owner, could refuse. The bid, being made together with real estate entrepreneur Meni Weitzman, is for $70 million — higher than the $60 million-$65 million that Israeli conglomerate Elco Group and the private equity investor Kedma Capital have made. But the offer is based on IDB providing the buyers a $20 million to cover part of the purchase price and the rest coming from a bond offering Brown will only make in May. If the acquisition is completed, Israir would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Brown and lend it $35 million to buy hotels in Greece — the original purpose of the bond offering. Apparently Weitzman wants to bring Israir into the real estate business to make use of the airline’s 800 million shekels in accumulated tax losses. (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares marks seventh day higher

Tel Aviv shares extended their gains into a seventh straight session Thursday. The benchmark TA-35 index closed 0.5% up at 1,554.14 points, while the TA-125 added 0.7% to 1,413.16, on turnover of 1.5 billion shekels ($410 million). Gilat rose 4.45% to 34.77 shekels after announcing a multiyear contract in India for broadband connectivity equipment and services. Mobile carriers jumped: Electra Consumer up 3.9% to 40.87, Cellcom Israel up 3.6% to 19.17 and Partner Communications up 3.2% to 16.50. But Bezeq parent B Communications dropped 4.4% to 15.71. Bank Leumi raised 2.35 billion shekels in a two-part debt offering: bonds that will pay annual interest of 2.02% and CoCo convertible notes that will pay 2.42%. The dollar weakened 0.8% to 3.6420 shekels after the U.S. Federal Reserve moved to halt rises in interest rates. (TheMarker Staff)