U.S. Investors May Bid for Domino's Pizza Israel

A consortium of U.S. investors is one of six groups looking at buying the Domino's Pizza Israel chain.

Ami Ben-Dror, a former marketing manager of Omni Food Brands (TASE: OMNF ), which managed the troubled local chain, is representing the group. On Sunday he confirmed that he had acquired the documents to table a bid from the chain's receiver, attorney Ronen Matari.

Ben-Dror, who said the group had both food and investment background, was optimistic that with proper management, Domino's could win back its 45% share of the pizza take-away market. But he declined to estimate what the chain might be worth.

Bids for the company must be with the company's receiver by January 13, tomorrow, after the deadline was postponed for the second time.

Insofar as could be ascertained, six different groups will be contending over Domino's, which had achieved strong branding in Israel. One is the Sbarro chain, whose local manager, Amir Chasson, commented, "We received the material and are studying it."

Sources near the U.S. head office of Domino's said it was highly unlikely to accept an offer from Sbarro, which is a rival in fast Italian-style food. Some Domino's franchisees around the world run other fast-food outlets, but not directly competitive ones.

Since the local chain entered receivership in late November 2003, its sales dropped by 20%, but picked up again after it started advertising again. Sources near the chain said the drop in sales was caused by closing the branches on Tel Aviv's Ibn Gvirol Street and in Ashdod. Today Domino's still runs 14 outlets in Israel, and another eight through franchisees.