Granovsky buys control of Willi-Food for NIS 268m

Alexander Granovsky will acquire the Williger brothers' entire 58% stake in Willi-Food through Emblaze.

Emblaze Ltd. (LSE: BLZ) has confirmed today's report by "Globes". Alexander Granovsky, who controls Emblaze through BGI Investments (1961) Ltd. (TASE: BGI), has acquired control of G. Willi-Food Investments Ltd. (TASE:WLFD), controlled by Zwi Williger and Joseph Williger, for NIS 268 million.

"Globes" reported that Granovsky is acquiring the Williger's entire 58% stake in Willi-Food, worth over NIS 200 million on the stock market. Zwi Williger will keep his position as Willi-Food chairman, and Joseph Williger will keep his position as company president.

Granovsky is carrying out the acquisition through Emblaze. Emblaze and ZBI Ltd. (TASE: ZBI-L) CEO Yosef Schneorson, Granovsky's right-hand man, has been examining investments in public companies in the Israeli capital market, including food importer Willi-Food, which has a market cap of NIS 358 million.

"We have been seeking investments in high-quality companies with outstanding human capital, and with an emphasis on companies with growth engines in Israel and overseas," said Schneorson today. "The Williger brothers accepted our offer and they will continue to run the company. Under their management, the company has been a great success over the years since it was founded, by every growth and profitability measure."

Willi-Food was a member of the investment group that Granovsky and Nochi Dankner organized to invest in IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH), and which broke up after the court decided to transfer the company to Eduardo Elsztain and Moti Ben-Moshe, which means that Granovsky and the Williger brothers know each other very well.

Moreover, for the purpose of the investment in IDB, in August 2013, Granovsky acquired control of Emblaze in order to use its large cash reserves (about NIS 500 million) to invest in IDB.

Last week, Granovsky notified the TASE that, after flattening the corporate pyramid in his public companies, he was now seeking to sell stock market shell ZBI to stock market shell trader Kfir Zilberman for NIS 2 million. This will reduce Granovsky's corporate pyramid to two public companies, BGI and Emblaze.

Willi-Food is a manufacturer and distributor of kosher food products in Israel, the US and Europe. It posted a net profit of NIS 15 million on NIS 79 million revenue in January-September 2013. In 2007, the Williger brothers sold their controlling stake in Will-Food to Arcadi Gaydamak for NIS 181 million. They granted him a seller's loan of NIS 79 million as part of the deal, but when he failed to repay it, they took back control of the company.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 3, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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