Dan Senor, co-author of the 2009 bestseller “Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle,” emerged late on Wednesday as a surprise bidder for the Israeli financial daily Globes.
Senor, who is also an investor in high-tech companies in Israel and abroad, offered to pay 52 million shekels ($13.6 million) for the newspaper, a rival to TheMarker. Although the offer is subject to due diligence, for now it is significantly better than the highest offer made to date for the newspaper – a 45-million-shekel bid from Russian oligarch David Davidovich. The surprise counter-bid by Senor, however, reopens the entire sale process.
Senor is close to Paul Singer, the billionaire American hedge fund manager and a major contributor to the Republican Party.
In response to the news of his bid, Senor said: "I can confirm my interest in acquiring Globes. While I won’t comment on the specifics of the process, I believe that Globes and its journalists have a promising future as a stand-alone, independent platform in Israeli journalism. Israel has a growing economy, with rapidly increasing global relevance, which I learned first-hand when I co-authored a book about the Israeli economy. Globes should continue to be the voice of Israel's economy to the world."
Eli Azur, whose media properties includes The Jerusalem Post and Maariv dailies, also submitted a bid of 34 million shekels. Until now it looked like Davidovich – a close associate of billionaire Roman Abramovich, a fellow Russian oligarch who is the owner of the English soccer team Chelsea – would win the bidding for Globes.
On Tuesday the board of Monitin, the company that owns Globes, met to discuss terms of his takeover with Davidovich, who promised to invest in the newspaper and refrain from cutting jobs. However, the final decision on the sale lies with Monitin’s shareholders, who are due to decide next week, and then seek court approval.
Globes has been put on the block as part of an asset sale by the indebted tycoon Eliezer Fishman. Monitin is now two thirds owned by Bank Leumi, which Fishman had put up as collateral on part of his debt and will presumably have the final say on the Globes sale.
Aside from coauthoring Startup Nation, a flattering profile of Israel’s high-tech industry, Senor, 45, is associated with the Republican Party, serving as a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq in the early 2000s and as an adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign. He is married to television news personality Campbell Brown.