Sale of Conduit stake falls through

Talks between Yozma Venture Capital and Silver Lake for the sale of 9% of Conduit have ended without a deal.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that talks between Yozma Venture Capital and Silver Lake for the sale of 9% of Conduit Ltd. have ended without a deal. Two weeks ago, "Globes" disclosed that Yozma had been in intensive talks for several months to sell its stake in Conduit.

Yozma and Ofer Hi Tech Ltd. tried to transfer Yozma's stake in Conduit to Silver Lake, a private equity fund, without success, and they are now looking at alternatives. The deal was supposed to reflect a company value of $2-2.5 billion for Conduit.

Conduit's valuation in any future deal will probably be lower, at around $1.5-2 billion, which will set the seal on the estimate that Conduit, which provides solutions for closer ties between Internet users and content providers, is one of Israel's largest ever high-tech companies. Conduit CEO Ronen Shilo, Dror Erez and Gaby Bilczyk founded the company in 2005. For a long time, it supplied platforms for developing toolbars for browsers.

Conduit recently changed its strategy and rebranded to include several activities beyond toolbars. Last November, "Globes" named it as one of Israel's most promising start-ups for 2011.

If Yozma can find another buyer, the big winners will be Yozma's investors, lad by Ofer Hi Tech, which owns 30-40% of the firm. For Ofer Hi Tech, which invested $20 million in the Yozma III Fund, the sale of the latter's stake in Conduit will represent a handsome return by itself, regardless of other investments made by the fund.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 23, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

Shmulik Shelach, Roy Goldenberg and Gali Weinreb
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