Shlomo Nehama Said Nearing Deal to Buy Mori Arkin's Bezeq Stake

Ex-banker expected to get 10% discount below market valuation of shares

Shlomo Nehama, formerly the chairman of Bank Hapoalim and now a man evidently seeking a new direction, is expected to buy out Moshe (Mori) Arkin's 3% stake in Bezeq.

Arkin owns 10% of the controlling interest, which is 3% of the phone company's shares.

Sources close to the negotiations say talks have advanced considerably in the past few days, and an agreement is expected to be signed soon.

Nehama is expected to pay less than the market value for the shares, which is now NIS 550 million.

The reason for the discount is that Nehama will have to replace Arkin as the Israeli investor in the controlling interest to meet the state's requirements.

The controlling interest comprises 30% of Bezeq's shares, divided between Arkin, Haim Saban and the private equity firm Apax. The group also has the option to buy another 10% from the state.

The agreement between Nehama and Arkin would give him the full rights to Arkin's share, including the option to increase his holding to 4%.