WeWork Raises $702m in Bond on Wall Street, 40% More Than Planned

Court orders Rami Levy take Olla pasta products off store shelves ■ Elovitch loses majority in newly elected Bezeq board ■ Tel Aviv shares gain but end off their high for the day

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File photo: WeWork's London office space.
File photo: WeWork's London office space.Credit: Bloomberg

Housing & Construction weighing sale of troubled African unit

Housing & Contruction, the Israeli property builder under investigation for allegedly bribing African officials, is reportedly weighing a sale of its African operations. The decision is still in its early phases and hasn’t been approved by the board nor has an investment bank been retained to manage the sale. Housing & Contruction's SBI AG unit generated 1.1 billion shekels ($310 million at current exchange rates) in revenues last year, accounting for 17% of H&C’s total. The unit, which operates in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria, among other countries, had a 4.9 billion shekel orders backlog as of the end of 2017, or 42% of H&C’s total. In response to the reports, the company said it was always considering whether to enter or exit different geographies and business segments but that it had made no decision regarding Africa. Shares of H&C, which is controlled by Shari Arison, ended up 0.15% at 6.13 shekels. (Yoram Gabison)

Court orders Rami Levy take Olla pasta products off store shelves

Israel’s Supreme Court last week ordered discount supermarket chain Rami Levy to remove its Olla pasta and pasta sauce from store shelves until it rules whether the packaging looked too similar to those of plaintiff Barilla. “A brief look at the product packaging in front of us leaves no room for doubt that when designing its packaging, Rami Levi looked to Barilla’s packaging, “ wrote Justice Noam Sohlberg. The Italian company had earlier won a Tel Aviv District Court ruling that concluded that the supermarket chain’s private label Olla’s blue pasta boxes looked too similar to Barilla’s but that sauce jars did not and ordered the boxed removed. Neither side was happy and appealed to the Supreme Court, where Sohlberg issued his interim injunction saying both products had to be taken off the shelves. The case now goes back to Tel Aviv District Court Judge Limor Bibi. Rami Levy shares ended up 1% at 167.30 shekels ($46.63). (Ido Baum)

Elovitch loses majority in newly elected Bezeq board

As expected, Bezeq shareholders voted on Thursday for a new board that removed the controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch’s majority and paved the way for an overhaul of Israel’s largest telecoms group. Shareholders voted to increase the board to 13 directors from nine, but just five are considered tied to Elovitch’s holding company B Communications. Five are outside directors, three of whom were previously elected and another two have no connection to BCom. One other represents Bezeq’s workers, Bezeq said. The new board will convene on Monday and is widely expected to name Shlomo Rodav as chairman. Rodav already served as chairman of Bezeq from 2007 to 2010. Interest in Bezeq’s annual meeting has been building since January when activist investor Elliott Management said it had taken a 4.8%  stake to push for changes in the wake of a securities investigation into the company’s management and owners. Bezeq shares ended down 0.3% at 4.63 shekels. (Reuters)

WeWork raises $702 million in bond on Wall Street, 40% more than planned

WeWork, the office co-working space co-founded by Israeli Adam Neumann, sold $702 million in bonds over the weekend, $200 million more than the company had expected. The company had initially planned to sell $500 million, but after it received orders for about five times that amount it boosted the size of the offering, Bloomberg News reported. The Financial Times ascribed the heavy demand to low interest rates and shrinking supply, which has made it harder for investors to find bonds with attractive yields. The seven-year bonds will carry a coupon of 7.785%, at the lower end of the 7.75%-8% range the company had talked about. WeWork said the proceeds, together with contractual commitments from SoftBank to invest in the company, will give it over $3 billion of cash to use to finance its expansion. WeWork had originally contemplated issuing the bonds for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange but reportedly balked at the Israel’s tough disclosure requirements. (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv shares gain but end off their high for the day

Tel Aviv shares finished Sunday higher, although off their peaks for the day. The TA-35 and TA-125 indices both gained just short 0.5% to 1,473.96 and 1,337.65 points, respectively, on turnover of 457 million shekels ($127 million). Among the top gainers, Teva Pharmaceuticals rose 3.25% to close at 63.50, B Communications also advanced 3.25% to 46.06 and Gazit Globe added 1.1% to 34.35. Bank Hapoalim issued 3.4 billion shekels  in a debt offering to institutional investors to be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. TowerJazz ended down 0.3% to 93.05.  “Look, Tower’s good, but I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got Intel and I’ve got AMD. Why do I have to mess with Tower Semi?” market guru Jim Cramer said on Friday. Finance shares were lower, with Harel sliding 2.7% to 26.39 and Israel Discount Bank shedding 1.65% to 10.13. In foreign currency trading, the dollar strengthened 0.5% to a representative rate of 3.5970 on Friday. (Guy Erez)