Business in Brief

Israeli Pharma Giant Teva Weighing Sale on Oncology Business

Super-Sol sells 200m shekels of shares | Cellcom launches low-cost TV, internet, telephone service | Perrigo jumps on Einhorn’s long position | Tel Aviv gets lift from higher Wall Street

Teva Pharmaceutical's Copaxone drug, used for treating multiple sclerosis.
Ofer Vaknin

Israeli pharma giant Teva weighing sale on oncology business

Teva Pharmaceuticals is exploring a sale of its specialty cancer treatments as part of a drive to pare back its huge debt, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg said the company had held preliminary consultations with financial advisers about a possible sale of the business, which includes treatments for leukemia and lymphoma, with the buyer likely to be either private equity fund or another company.

Revenue from Teva’s oncology division fell 5% to $1.14 billion last year amid tougher competition from rival therapies. Meanwhile, Teva’s debt has ballooned after it bought Allergan’s generics business for about $40 billion last year. The sale comes at a time of leadership transition for Teva, whose CEO stepped down earlier this year and has not been replaced.

On Wednesday the company confirmed that its chief financial officer, Eyal Deshe, would be leaving shortly. Teva shares ended 1.9% higher at 113.70 shekels ($31.21). (TheMarker Staff)

Super-Sol sells 200m shekels of shares

Taking an advantage of a 124% run-up in its share price since the collapse of its rival Mega, food retailer Super-Sol on Wednesday sold about 200 million shekels ($54.90 million) of stock to the public.

The offering, equal to about a 5% stake in the company, was sold at a minimum price of 17.65 shekels a share, a 4.5% discount on the stock’s opening price on Wednesday. Shares of Super-Sol finished down 3% to match the offering price.

Super-Sol, 59% of which is owned by the IDB group, is expected to use the proceeds to help finance its 130 million-shekel acquisition of the New Pharm drugstore chain it announced two weeks ago. Separately, Super-Sol reported it was in talks to buy a 26% stake from Gazit Globe in Lev Hamifratz, the company that controls that Cinemall shopping center in Haifa. Super-Sol said it might acquire the stake alone or together with the third shareholder in the company, Menorah Insurance. (Yoram Gabison)

Cellcom launches low-cost TV, internet, telephone service

Cellcom Israel, the country’s biggest cellular operator, launched low-cost “quadruple play” packages of internet, mobile phone, landline calls and TV on Wednesday, promising to shake up the country’s telecoms market.

The package, priced at 249 shekels ($69) a month, will enable Cellcom to better compete with Bezeq, Israel’s dominant telecoms company, as well as with Hot. Partner Communications, Israel’s second-biggest cellular operator, also offers landline and internet and a more limited TV service, and plans to launch an upgraded TV package in June.

Cellcom also said it will offer Android streaming services, in addition to the Apple TV it launched in November. Seeking new streams of revenue amid stiff competition in cellular telephony, Cellcom launched its Internet-based TV service in 2015 and has about 122,000 TV subscribers, still well below Bezeq’s Yes and Hot, but it is adding subscribers while Bezeq and Hot have been losing TV clients. Cellcom shares fell 0.6% 36.41 shekels. (Reuters)

Perrigo jumps on Einhorn’s long position

Perrigo shares rocketed higher on Wednesday on news that Greenlight Capital, the hedge fund controlled by celebrity investor David Einhorn, had taken a long position in the drug maker, meaning he is betting that the share will rise.

Einhorn’s announcement late Tuesday was followed by news that Perrigo had reached an agreement with its auditor, Ernst & Young, to restate financial reports as far back as the end of 2013 connected with the sale of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri.

The move will enable the drug maker to file its delayed 10K annual report and would not “materially impact” the more than $1 billion in cash Perrigo received on the Tysabri deal. Perrigo shares ended 9% up at 266.10 shekels ($73.05). (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv gets lift from higher Wall Street

Tel Aviv shares marked a third day of gains, lifted in the final stretch of the trading day by a higher opening on Wall Street. The TA-35 and TA-125 indices both rose about 0.6% to close at 1,410.75 and 1,274.66 points, respectively, on turnover of about 1.09 billion shekels ($300 million). Tech shares rallied, with Mazor Robotics climbing 6.4% to 64.23 shekels and Cerragon adding 5.6% to 12.28. Insurance stocks extended their gains: Phoenix ended 2.25% up at 15.44 while Harel and Clal both rose 1.7% to 19.28 and 57.08, respectively. Mannkind led TA-125 losers, tumbling 6.1% to 3.20 and marking a loss of two-thirds of its market value in less than two months. In the bond market, three companies sold debt in the last two days amid strong demand. Union Bank raised 414 million shekels, Zarfasai 475 million and Eldan 320 million, bringing the total so far in April for new debt to 2.8 billion. (Omri Zerachovitz)