Less than two weeks after Shari Arison sold shares in Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) for NIS 1.5 billion, US asset management giant BlackRock has reported that it has acquired a substantial stake in the Israeli bank.
BlackRock has reported that it holds 3.01% of the shares in Bank Hapoalim (about 40.3 million shares) and holds voting rights for 3.81% of the shares of the bank. The shares held by BlackRock are worth more than NIS 1 billion. As there is no controlling core in the bank, any entity holding more than a 2.5% stake in Bank Hapoalim is required to report the matter.
Arison sold her shares last month outside of the stock market via investment banks Goldman Sachs and Citi at NIS 25.5 per share, a 4% discount on the market price at the time. She sold 25% of her remaining stake in the bank, with the shares sold representing 4.4% of Bank Hapoalim's equity. The former controlling shareholder is now left with slightly more than an 11% stake in the bank, after the sale of the latest shares.
The share price when Arison sold her shares was 12% below the all-time high share price for the bank in early 2020.
BlackRock, which as of March 31, 2021 had assets worth $9 trillion under management, reportedly sees Israeli banks as underpriced in relation to their returns on equity, while being a solid investment.
Hapoalim currently has a market cap of NIS 35.5 billion, making it Israel's most valuable bank.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 2, 2021
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