Golan Telecom in Talks to Partner or Merge With Rami Levy Communications

Business in Brief | Bank Leumi agrees to delay selling its stake in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ■ Together shares jump 8% after it inks $300 million cannabis sale in Canada ■ TASE shares edge up

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Michael Golan of Golan Telecom, 2017.
Michael Golan of Golan Telecom, 2017.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Golan Telecom in talks to partner or merge with Rami Levy Communications

The heads of Golan Telecom and Rami Levy Communications met recently for preliminary talks on a possible joint venture or Golan’s purchase of Rami Levy Communications, sources told TheMarker. Participants included Golan CEO Gil Sharon, Rami Levy Communications controlling shareholder Rami Levy and executives of the Electra group, which owns Golan through its consumer products division. Rami Levy Communications is a subsidiary of Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing. If a merger or cooperation agreement were to emerge, the big loser could be Bezeq’s Pelephone division. Rami Levy Communications uses Pelephone’s network for its 200,000 subscribers; the resultant loss of revenue for Pelephone in the event of a switch would be significant. Golan is Israel’s fifth-largest mobile carrier, with 900,000 customers. In response, Rami Levy said it had done nothing it was required to report; Golan denied any talks with Rami Levy. Any merger would require regulatory approval. (Amitai Ziv) 

Bank Leumi agrees to delay selling its stake in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-largest lender, said Thursday it had agreed to a request by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to extend until the end of August the deadline for selling its shares in the bourse. The TASE made the request to the banks Wednesday, after the Israel Securities Authority asked for more time to examine the foreign buyers. Leumi has said it would sell its entire 9.3% stake. That came after the TASE demutualized in September, becoming a for-profit stock exchange and offering to buy out its shareholders. It received commitments from member banks to buy back 71.7% of their shares and had until June 19 to complete this. In April, U.S.-based investment fund Manikay Partners agreed to buy 19.9% of the TASE in a deal valuing it at 551 million shekels ($154 million). A number of international investors are to buy an additional 21.8%. (Reuters)

Together shares jump 8% after it inks $300 million cannabis sale in Canada

Shares of medical marijuana firm Together Startup Network jumped 8.4% to 9.50 shekels ($2.64) Thursday after the company said it signed a binding two-year deal worth at least $300 million for its Globus Pharma subsidiary to supply cannabis products to an unnamed Canadian company. It is not yet clear where the marijuana will be grown for the contract, which begins next year. Globus Pharma would like to do it in Israel, if the government permits the export of the plants. No Israeli government decision has been made on the matter and Globus has the option of using grow houses in Africa, apparently at a somewhat higher cost. In advance of the announcement, trading in Together’s stock was temporarily halted. The formal announcement through the TASE was issued at 10:41 A.M. but rumors circulated before then, which may have given investors an opportunity to get in on the purchase of the company’s shares early. 
(Guy Erez and Reuters)

TASE shares edge up 

Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange inched up in general in trading Thursday. The benchmark TA-35 index climbed 0.12% to 1,542.16 points while the broader TA-125 index closed at 1,392.83, up by just 0.02%. Trading volume for the day was 1.8 billion shekels ($500 million). Shares of the software company Nice Systems attracted the largest trading volume, 106 million shekels, and closed up 3.4% at 397 shekels. In other shares of note, Opko Health’s stock jumped 4.2% to 16.33. Modiin Energy saw its stock climb 7.3% to 9.82 on production test drilling results in California. Paz Oil shares were a standout on the negative side, dropping 2.7% to 475.50 shekels. (Michael Rochvarger)