Morris Kahn - Aurec Group

The Mysterious Billionaire

The sale of a controlling interest in Golden Channels by the Aurec Group and the decision in principle of Morris Kahn, the principal owner of its Israel section, not to enter the inland communications market, brought the name of the mysterious billionaire back to the headlines.

Morris Kahn, the man who founded the Aurec Group and is now realizing his assets in it, was born in South Africa in 1930 and moved to Israel in 1956. His businesses in his first ten years in Israel failed, until he managed to milk the fat cow of government tenders.

In 1967, Kahn, together with ITT, entered the Ministry of Communications tender to produce the Golden Pages telephone directory and won. The company was founded in 1968. In 1973, Kahn acquired the outstanding shares from ITT. In 1979, Golden Pages won a Ministry of Communications tender for producing telephone directories.

Boaz Naor, a former employee of the Ministry of Communications, founded Aurec Information, now called Amdocs, to produce a computer system required by the company for the project. The holding company for the group's companies was given the name Aurec. In 1985, Southwestern Bell acquired 50% of Aurec, and in 1989, Golden Channels won a franchise for laying cable TV lines. In 1996, Golden Lines won a tender for setting up and operating an international communications company, and in 1997 Aurec announced the acquisition of 50% of Netcom, as well as the founding of AIG Golden Insurance and Alpha Visa-Card. Morris Kahn became a concern.

Kahn lives with his wife in the exlusive suburb of Beit Yanai and holds apartments in London and New York, a flower plantation in South America, a sheep ranch in New Zealand, and a horse ranch in the Netherlands. He also has horse business in Israel. His yacht, Jacqueline (named for his wife), is regularly anchored at Nice on the French Riviera.

Other than communications, Kahn's favorite business is underwater marine parks. It began with Coral World, a successful joint venture in Eilat with Ampal - American-Israel Corp., and has continued with additional underwater marine parks around the world.

Kahn's biggest financial and professional success is overseas, in the form of the Amdocs billing company. Amdocs has become the largest software company in Israel. In recent months, Kahn has realized a large part of his personal investments in the company, remaining with less than a 10% share.

Published by Israel's Business Arena on December 21, 1999

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