Two Merger and Acquisition Deals Worth $190m for Israeli Firms

SteadyMed acquired for initial $151 million, Kela sells 25% stake for $50 million

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Israeli shekels. (illustrative)
Israeli shekels. (illustrative)Credit: Reuters

Two big merger and acquisition deals for Israeli startups occurred on Monday. United Therapeutics agreed to buy its Israeli rival SteadyMed for $141 million in cash and a commitment to further payments that could reach $216 million related to the commercialization of SteadyMed’s Trevyen treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH.

In the second deal, San Francisco-based Vector Capital acquired a 25% stake in Kela Group, which develops automated technology for monitoring the so-called dark web -- the part of the web not indexed by web search engines.

United Therapeutics' price for the initial part of the deal represented a 65% present premium on SteadyMed’s Nasdaq-traded share price when it closed last Friday. The shares jumped 75.5% to $4.65 in late trading in response to the deal. The milestone payments could add up to another $2.63 a share for stockholders, United Therapeutics said.

SteadyMed is a specialty pharmaceutical company developing and commercializing of drugs to treat orphan and high-value diseases that aren’t taken orally. United Therapeutics is a leading biotechnology company that develops therapies for treating PAH and other orphan diseases.

“We are optimistic about acquiring SteadyMed and adding Trevyent to our pipeline of products to treat PAH,” said Martine Rothblatt, United Therapeutics CEO and chairman.

Kela was formed in 2009 by CEO Nir Barak , Yigal Naveh and Eran Shtauber, all former Israeli Defense Forces intelligence officers, as are most of the company’s 80 employees. It is among the few Israeli startups that has grown and thrived without any outside capital.

In a statement on Monday, Kela said it would be remaining in Israel. “Even if we grow to a company worth a billion dollars, we see our operations remaining in Israel today and in the future as a core company value,” said Shtauber.

Among its key products is RaDark, which uses algorithms to map cyberthreats to corporate customers emerging from the dark web. Kela doesn’t identify its customers except to say they are in the world finance and auto industries.

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