The Ticker: Moti Ben-Moshe Looking to Buy Giant Teva Logistics Facility

High Court asked to block law banning trading in binary options ■ High Court asked to block law banning trading in binary options ■ Together shares soar on plans to enter medical marijuana business ■ Tel Aviv shares end unchanged in quiet trading

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An employee sorts freshly harvested cannabis buds at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel March 21, 2017.
An employee sorts freshly harvested cannabis buds at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel March 21, 2017. Credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

Moti Ben-Moshe looking to buy giant Teva logistics facility

Moti Ben-Moshe is looking to add to the business empire he is assembling in Israel by buying Teva Pharmaceuticals’ new logistics center in the town of Shoham for a price that could reach as high as $120 million, TheMarker has learned. Ben-Moshe is weighing the option of buying the center through Blue Square Real Estate, which he gained control of when he bought the Alon Blue Square Group. Alternatively, he might buy it through a merged entity of Blue Square Real Estate and Africa Israel Investments, which he is about to take control of. Ben-Moshe, however, is likely to face competition from the U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon, which is reportedly looking for an Israeli logistics center. Other property investors may also be eying the 55,000-square-meter center for the same reason Ben-Moshe is, namely to rent space to retailers amid the online shopping boom. Teva will probably seek to rent part of the space once it sells the facility. (Yoram Gabison)

High Court asked to block law banning trading in binary options

The binary-trading house Yukom and its owner Yossi Herzog turned to Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday to block a law due to go into effect at the end of January that bans binary trading in Israel. In their petitions the plaintiffs called the law approved by the Knesset in October “aggressive” and designed only to preserve the “image of the State of Israel” by banning “an accepted financial instrument” that is still legal in countries like the United States, Britain and Australia. “The sweeping legislation was born in sin and constitutes a drastic step that leaves scorched earth for those in the field. ... It is also expected to lead to the immediate elimination of huge investments by many companies in the Israeli economy,” attorneys Zohar Lande, Eyal Nachshon and Moran Bickel wrote in the petition. The new law forbids Israeli companies from marketing binary options and gives them three months to shut down operations. The state has till January 10 to respond. (Shelly Appelberg)

Leviev losses on 19 years in control of Africa Israel: NIS 3 billion

Lev Leviev lost some 3 billion shekels ($860 million) during the 19 years he controlled Africa Israel Investments. TheMarker’s estimate comes as Leviev is about to lose control of the company in a debt bailout to Israeli-German entrepreneur Moti Ben-Moshe. Leviev put approximately 5.1 billion shekels into the company over the years, including sums he spent buying its shares, injecting capital into it when it was being crushed by debt and buying control of Africa Israel’s AFI Development Unit. Against that, Leviev collected some 1.3 billion shekels in dividends and still retains AFI, which is valued at 510 million. The estimate doesn’t include the compensation he was paid as chairman of Africa Israel and AFI. Leviev took control of the property developer in 1996 and at its peak in 2007 the company was worth 28 billion shekels. But the 2008 financial crisis and recession in Russia hurt Africa Israel badly. (Michael Rochvarger)

Together shares soar on plans to enter medical marijuana business

If it’s not blockchain, then it’s medical marijuana that excites investors when a publicly traded company releases any news. On Tuesday it was Together Startup Network, which jumped more than 59% to 1.39 shekels (40 cents) after it said it was planning to enter the medical marijuana business. The tony company, whose market cap was still just 13.6 million shekels after the day’s rally, said it was in talks with investors to jointly buy a closely held company that grows marijuana and makes it into medical products. Together said the unnamed investors had a permit to grow cannabis till October 2018 and to distribute until November 2018 and has rights to 45 dunams of farmland to grow it on. Under the deal, Together would allocate 85% of its shares to the company and the investors it is recruiting would invest 3 million shekels at a 70 million shekel valuation before the money, more than five times Together’s current value. (Guy Erez)

Tel Aviv shares end unchanged in quiet trading

Tel Aviv shares traded quietly on Tuesday as Bezeq and mall operators posted losses. The TA-35 and TA-125 indices ended virtually unchanged at 1,508.45 and 1,359.82 points, respectively, on turnover of 1.15 billion shekels ($330 million). Bezeq dipped 1.4% to 5.30 shekels after three days of gains in anticipation that Shaul Elovitch will surrender control of the company. Mall operators Azrieli and Melisron both dropped 2.4% to 190.90 and 161.60, respectively. Teva Pharmaceuticals, however, gained 1.1% to 66.40, capping gains of 28% since December 6. Bank shares were also higher after Excellence forecast a strong year for the sector in 2018. Its two top choices for profit growth were Mizrahi Tefahot, which rose 0.35% to 63.72, and Hapoalim, which gained 0.5% to 25.23. Holmes Place and Tadiran Holdings both closed 1.8% up at 4.38 and 101.30, respectively, after investment house Altshuler Shaham named them the top two Israeli stock picks for the coming year. (Shelly Appelberg and Guy Erez)

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