The Ticker / Babylon Founder Asserts He Was Misled in Buying Back Business.

Fortissimo in talks to acquire Fishman Thermo for $160 million; Ceragon wins $43 million in contracts.

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Babylon Controlling shareholder Noam Lanir.
Babylon Controlling shareholder Noam Lanir.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Fortissimo in talks to acquire Fishman Thermo for $160 million

Fresh from a $470 million fundraising, the private equity fund Fortissimo is in talks to make its first investment by buying Fish Thermo Technologies. Fortissimo is in early negotiations to buy the maker of cooling systems for the automotive industry for $160 million as well as take on the company’s bank debt of $50 million. The fund has 30 days of exclusivity to reach an agreement and is now undertaking due diligence. Fishman Themro, which is controlled by another private equity investor, the Tene Fund, as well as Leumi Partners and institutional investors who together hold a 54% stake, has shown steady growth in recent years. Last year it had revenues of $65 million, generating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $24 million and net profit of $12 million. But an attempt led by the investment bank Rothschild to sell the company for $200 million failed. (Michael Rochvarger)

Ceragon wins $43 million in contracts

Shares of Ceragon Networks jumped after the company said yesterday that three mobile operators in the Asia Pacific region, including one in India, had awarded it contracts worth a combined $43 million to deploy its IP-20 4G cellular-telephony services. “Having all three operators choose Ceragon for their individual 4G network expansion and upgrade illustrates the immense benefits our IP-20 platform provides for solving a wide variety of wireless backhaul needs,” said CEO Ira Palti. Ceragon didn’t identify the customers but said they were previous users of the company’s cellular backhaul equipment. Ceragon, which fired hundreds of employees as part of a turnaround program, boosted revenue 41% in the first quarter to 373 million shekels, cutting its loss to 27.8 million shekels from 94 million a year ago. Shares of Ceragon rose 12.4% to close at 12.37 shekels ($3.28).
(Omri Zerachovitz)

Babylon founder asserts he was misled in buying back business

Amnon Ovadia says Babylon misrepresented itself when he agreed to buy back the translation business of the once high-flying tech company he founded. In a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday, Babylon did not detail Ovadia’s claims but said he was demanding that an arbitrator be called in over the deal. It called the allegation “lacking any factual or legal basis.” Noam Lanir had bought Babylon from Ovadia and abandoned its core translation business, and boosted its market capitalization to nearly $500 million until Google cut off ties. Last September, Ovadia was granted a five-year license to use the Babylon and names in exchange for giving the company royalties of 45% on any sales exceeding $2.8 million a year. Shares of Babylon, which now has a market cap of about 100 million shekels ($26.5 million), closed down 3.2% at 1.86 shekels. (Shelly Appelberg) 

Stocks trade quietly, but bonds rally

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed virtually unchanged yesterday after shaking off losses earlier in the session, but bond prices rebounded. The benchmark TA-25 index edged up 0.02% to 1,681.41 points, while the TA-100 added 0.1% to 1,446.57, on turnover of 1.21 billion shekels ($320 million). Bond prices rallied, with the government’s 10-year shekel bond climbing 0.83% to lower its yield to 2.51% as the inflation-indexed Galil, due in September 2023, gained 0.41% to a yield of 0.56%. Leading the most actives, Teva Pharmaceuticals finished 2.7% up at 241.50. Both publicly traded cellphone companies rallied, Partner Communications up 5.8% to 11.29 shekels and Cellcom Israel ahead 3.1% to 15.20, while Bank Leumi lost 1.2% to 16.19, Africa Israel Investments fell 4% to 3.02 and Nice Systems dropped 1.7% to 240.20. Sapiens finished 1% higher at 41.42 shekels after it got a 40 million-shekel contract from the Cyprus-based life insurer EuroLife.  In foreign currency trading, the dollar was little changed while the euro lost 0.45% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.1639 shekels. (Omri Zerachovitz)