Aviv Wins, Gaydamak Loses

Arcadi Gaydamak was once the darling of the Israeli capital market, but it turns out the real winners are the Aviv family, headed by Doron Aviv and Dafna Harlev, who sold their controlling stake in Ocif Developments to Gaydamak less than two years ago.

The Aviv family sold Gaydamak 60% of the company for NIS 600 million, for a market capitalization of NIS 1 billion in May 2007. That valuation was almost twice the company's value at the time.

Gaydamak was not concerned by the fact that Ocif's share price had been climbing steadily for four solid years. He was willing to pay the premium to control the company.

The Aviv family was probably thrilled with the golden opportunity, and happily sold the company founded by family patriarch Moshe Aviv. The family took home NIS 600 million, and watched in astonishment from the sidelines as Ocif nosedived to a value of about NIS 270 million.

Now Gaydamak must decide on the future of Ocif, and may have to sell it to cover his debts. The company may be transferred to Bank Mizrahi Tefahot, if Gaydamak does not meet the bank's demands for the immediate repayment of more than NIS 250 million in credit.

Who knows, the Aviv family may buy back Ocif - at one quarter of the value at which they sold it to Gaydamak.