Apax Partners buys Psagot

Psagot is Israel's largest investment house.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Apax Partners has acquired Psagot Investment House Ltd. for NIS 3.1 billion. Apax Partners Israel managing director Zehavit Cohen is expected to shortly sign the deal with Psagot's controlling shareholder, York Capital Management LLC. The deal is for 76% of Psagot. Markstone Capital Partners will remain with a 24% stake.

Of the NIS 2.35 billion purchase price, Apax is investing NIS 1.4 billion of its, with the rest being provided by Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, which will each lend Apax NIS 500 million.

Psagot, run by CEO Roy Vermus, is Israel's largest investment house, with NIS 125 billion in assets under management. Its chairman is Arik Steinberg. Vermus has an option on 1.5% of Psagot, and thus stands to gain NIS 27 million from the sale. Steinberg has an option on 0.75%, and will gain NIS 13 million. York's representative in Israel is Jeremy Blank.

For the past several weeks, York has been in talks for the sale of Psagot with both Apax as well as Hellman and Friedman LLC of the US.

Psagot is Israel's largest investment house, with NIS 120 billion in assets under management, including NIS 45 billion in provident funds, NIS 30 billion in mutual funds, NIS 35 billion in investment portfolios, and NIS 6 billion in exchange traded funds. It has a debt of NIS 1 billion for its acquisition of Gadish Global Financial Services (2007) Ltd. York Capital has a debt to Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) for the loan taken to acquire Psagot.

York Capital acquired Psagot in September 2006 at a valuation of NIS 1.28 billion. York subsequently sold shares in Psagot to Seneca Capital LP (which currently owns about 3% of the company). In late 2007, York sold a stake to Plainfield Asset Management LLC, which brought Gadish, Israel's largest provident fund, as a dowry. Plainfield currently owns 16% of Psagot.

In April 2009, Prisma Provident Funds were merged into Psagot Provident Funds Management, and Prisma's owner Markstone Capital Partners Group LLC received 24% of Psagot in exchange.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 10, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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