Business in Brief: Shellanoo Reveals List of Celebrity Backers Ahead of IPO

Urbancorp bondholders to be repaid an initial 60% of its debt; Kibo axes staff after smart keyboard fails to generate significant revenues; Tel Aviv shares fall, paced by Spacecom.

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Roman Abramovich, worth $14.2 billion.
Roman Abramovich, worth $14.2 billion.Credit: Reuters

Shellanoo reveals list of celebrity backers ahead of IPO

Shellanoo — the high-tech holding group planning an initial public offering in Tel Aviv next month — sports a celebrity list of shareholders, but no proven business successes to date and just $10 million in cash on its books. Shellanoo’s prospectus, released this week, revealed that its “team” of backers includes the singer Nicki Minaj; Benny Andersson of the Swedish band Abba; Swedish musician Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name, Avicii; and a clutch of London-based music industry figures. Roman Abramovich, the Russian tycoon and owner of Chelsea soccer club in London, owns 16% of the group and founder Oded Kobo has 37%. Among its four tech holdings, app Blindspot attracted attention last year for providing a potential platform for online bullying. The accounting firm BDO assigned a 700-million-shekel ($183 million) valuation to the company, but it appears Shellanoo’s major asset is its celebrity connections. Kobo is raising his monthly salary 130% as of this month, to $92,000. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Urbancorp bondholders to be repaid an initial 60% of its debt 

Israeli bondholders of Urbancorp, the defunct Canadian property company whose debt was listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, will be getting back 60% of the money, the company told Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday. Bondholders will get about 105 million shekels of the 180 million shekels due them after trustees for the company sold off the first batch of Urbancorp assets. That is already a significant recovery and the amount is likely to grow as the trustee divests more properties. Bondholders were trading Urbancorp debt for between 28 and 39 agorot on the shekel in recent weeks. Attorney Guy Gissin, Urbancorp’s special administrator, said Urbancorp’s Toronto-area property portfolio had attracted a lot of interest from buyers. Some 46 offers were for properties and the sales process is expected to be completed by October. Proceeds from the sales due bondholders of Urbancorp Incorporated, the unit that had issued debt in Tel Aviv, amounts to 36 million Canadian dollars (105 million shekels). (Eran Azran)

Kibo axes staff after smart keyboard fails to generate significant revenues

Kibo, the startup company that developed customized smartphone keyboards for sports fans, is paring back its operations sharply, its two publicly traded partners said on Wednesday. Some 20 million of the Kibo keyboards — which was jointly marketed with soccer clubs like Barcelona and Manchester United — were downloaded by fans. However, the advertising that was supposed to generate revenues from them failed to materialize. Kibo had no revenues at all last year and just $71,000 in the first half of 2016. As a result, Kibo said it was ending marketing of the keyboard and firing staff, “to better align our resources and focus our business operations.” Shares  of Apply — which is controlled by Noam Lanir, the tech entrepreneur behind Babylon — ended down 18.8% at 3.13 shekels on Thursday, bringing its two-day drop to 24.4%. WhiteSmoke, Kibo’s other shareholder, ended down 14.7% for the two days at 1.24 shekels. (Guy Erez)

Tel Aviv shares fall, paced by Spacecom 

Tel Aviv shares turned lower late in the trading day on Thursday after surrendering early gains. The blue chip TA-25 index ended down 0.1% at 1,445.08 points, while the TA-100 lost 0.35% to 1,267.03, on turnover of 1.04 billion shekels ($275.5 million). Spacecom led the TA-100 down, falling 8.9% to 39.08 shekels after the company said its Amos 6 satellite was destroyed at its Cape Canaveral launch site yesterday. Navidea plunged 25.4% to 1.28 after a Texas court froze its bank accounts in a dispute with lenders. Among pharma stocks, volume leader Teva Pharmaceuticals was down 1% to 189.80, and Mylan lost 1.2% to 158.20. But Opko Health rallied to end 2.25% higher at 35.43 and Perrigo added 1.1% to 346.80. Cellcom Israel finished down 3.3% to 27.44 shekels. Energy shares were also down, led by a 1.8% drop for Isramco, which closed at 71 agorot. (Uri Tomer)

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