Real estate businessman Meir Gurvitz paid a brief visit to Israel today to promote him bid to buy El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL). This was his second visit to the country in recent weeks and his meetings today were "with various sources involved in the El Al deal." Because Gurvitz flew in from the US and would have been required to undergo 14 days isolation, he landed at Ben Gurion airports, held his meetings, and then flew out again.
No precise details are known about Gurvitz's bid for El Al although it is described as a friendly bid to share ownership with the current controlling shareholders in Knafaim Holdings Ltd. (TASE: KNFM). The timing of the visit is probably because Gurvitz is under pressure from his two rivals who seek to buy control of El Al.
Israeli-Russian businessman David Sapir, who like Gurvitz wants to share control of the airline, has bid for 38% ownership and received a letter of encouragement from El Al's board to obtain a $400 million loan from Deutsche Bank at better terms than on offer from Israeli banks. Eli Rozenberg, who has bid $101 million for a 45% controlling stake, has set up a company to buy El Al and required high profile US and Israeli names including US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.
Sources close to Gurvitz say that today's meetings will "reshuffle the deck."
Reports in the Israeli haredi media say that Gurvitz who was born in Israel, lived most of his life in the UK and is currently based in the US and is Orthodox, has come under pressure from a leading rabbi not to allow El Al to operate on the sabbath (Friday night and Saturday). El Al current does not operate on Saturdays but its fully owned subsidiary Sun D'Or does.
A spokesperson for Gurvitz said, "In negotiations so far no conditions have been raised. Gurvitz has taken counsel from people close to him so that he can receive a blessing for his activities. The matter of keeping the Sabbath is most important. The issue for Gurvitz is a matter of conscience."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 8, 2020 © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020