Goldman Sachs Sells Half of IDB Stake to Yitzhak Dankner for NIS 150 Million

The Goldman Sachs investment house has sold Israeli businessman and Nochi Dankner's father, Yitzhak Dankner, half its shares in IDB Holding Corporation.

The shares were sold at NIS 84 each, which is 2.3 percent below IDB's opening price on the exchange yesterday morning and 16 percent lower than the price at which Nochi took over the concern this spring.

The transaction reduces Goldman Sachs' stake in IDB Holding Corporation from 9.5 percent to 4.75 percent, in exchange for NIS 150.1 million. The deal also brings the Dankner family stake in IDB to 22.5 percent, which came at a cost of NIS 818 million.

The transaction signifies that Goldman Sachs wants out of IDB, in which it first invested five and a half years ago. It acquired 9.5 percent of the holding company for NIS 280 million. During the five years, IDB distributed NIS 280 million dividends, bringing Goldman Sachs only NIS 27 million.

Goldman Sachs had paid NIS 79 per share. After the dividend is factored in, its yield over five and a half years was only 4.8 percent a year on average, or practically zero in real terms.

Goldman Sachs had bought the shares for its own portfolio, not for clients. At the time a source at the investment house commented that the group saw itself contributing to bettering IDB, possibly through public issues of group companies - or IDB itself - on Wall Street.

Yitzhak Dankner, one of IDB's controlling shareholders, was quick to tell reporters that he is a private investor and not obligated to report his actions, leaving the central question of where he came up with so much money, unanswered. It is possible Goldman Sachs is involved in financing the deal, but the U.S. investment bank also kept mum, for totally practical reasons, since Sunday is weekend there.

Dankner's only formal comment on the deal came through IDB's spokesman, who stated, "Dankner made the deal based on complete faith in the company."