Apax Partners is in talks to sell Psagot Investment House Ltd. to Altshuler Shaham Ltd., sources close to the matter have told "Globes." The valuation of Psagot is somewhere between NIS 1 billion and NIS 1.5 billion. Psagot has debt of hundreds of millions of shekels and it is unclear whether any deal would involve the buyer assuming the debt or whether it would remain with Apax Israel, managed by Zehavit Cohen and her right hand man Shay Aba.
Following "Globes" exclusive report on the negotiations, Altshuler Shaham confirmed the report and notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, "As part of its efforts to locate and examine business opportunities, the company from time to time examines options for acquiring companies in its areas of activity. Within this context, the company is examining, with the controlling owner of Psagot, the possibility of buying Psagot."
Althsuler Shaham added that the process of examining the acquisition of Psagot is at an early stage.
It is also unclear whether Altshuler Shaham, an investment house controlled by co-CEOs Gilad Altshuler and Ran Shaham, would buy all of Psagot or just some of its core activities.
As far as is known, Apax has also been talking with other Israeli financial institutions in attempts to sell its holdings in Psagot. Apax is believed to be prepared to split the company and sell of different parts of its operations to different buyers, although Apax is eager to sell the entire investment house as quickly as possible and not remain even with part of Psagot's activities.
Apax acquired a 76.2% controlling stake in Psagot from at a company valuation of NIS 2.7 billion. In 2015, Apax acquired the remaining 23.8% from Markstone at a company valuation of NIS 1.9 billion. Thus in total Apax paid NIS 2.5 billion for Psagot.
At its peak, there were reports that Cohen wanted to sell Psagot at a valuation of NIS 3.7 billion but there were no buyers. Over time the asking price has shrunk and market sources believe it has fallen below half its peak valuation, although the debt plays an important part in the final valuation.
Any potential merger between Psagot and Altshuler Shaham would require approval from the regulatory authorities including the Israel Competition Authority, the Israel Securities Authority and the Ministry of Finance Supervisor of the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings and it is by no means certain that such approvals would be forthcoming.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 11, 2021
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021