Arison Buys Out Workers in Housing & Construction

Shari Arison is cementing her position in two of her major holdings.

Yesterday she signed an agreement to buy the shares owned by the employees of Housing & Construction (Shikun U'Binui) for $130 million.

The firm had a market value of $546 million as of yesterday, while Arison's offer values it at about $650 million. This includes a premium for the controlling interest.

The shares that she wants to buy are held by about 500 of the company's employees.

The deal was completed in a marathon session yesterday between Arison's representatives and the workers.

The company also controls the Shikun Ovdim and Solel Boneh construction companies.

Israel Salt Industries officially announced today that Shari Arison is negotiating to buy the controlling interest in the company from the Dankner family. Arison is the biggest controlling shareholder in Bank Hapoalim, Israel's biggest bank. Salt Industries owns a smaller stake in the controlling interest, too. Terrific tensions arose after the "American shareholders" in Bank Hapoalim - Michael Steinhardt, Len Abramson and the heirs of Charles Schusterman - decided to sell their shares.

Arison blocked a move by another Dankner relative, Nochi, to buy the shares, and found that the other Dankners claim to have first right of refusal to the shares. War ensued. Salt Industries clarified that it is not certain whether any agreement will be reached with Arison, adding that substantial issues remain to be agreed upon. The company does produce salt, but also owns 6 percent of Bank Hapoalim, of which half are ordinary shares and the other half are controlling shares. Out of the controlling interest - 20 percent of Hapoalim's stock - Salt Industries owns 15 percent and Arison owns 57 percent, before the buyout of the Americans. With Arison's agreement in place to buy out the Americans, if she buys Salt Industries, she will be the sole controlling shareholder at Bank Hapoalim. She would also own Salt Industries and its tremendous land reserves in Eilat and Atlit.