Meir Gurvitz seeks joint control of El Al parent co Knafaim

El Al plane  / Photo: Yoav Yaari

The real estate businessman, who was in Israel to meet the El Al board, wants a 'friendly deal' and possibly joint control with the current controlling shareholders.

Meir Gurvitz's representatives say he has made a "friendly offer" to take joint control of Knafaim Holdings Ltd. (TASE: KNFM), which has a 38% stake in El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL). The amount of the offer was not revealed by Gurvitz's representatives who said it would be finalized in the coming few days. Gurvitz, who currently lives in the US, came to Israel this week and met with Ministry of Finance and Government Companies Authority officials.

Gurvitz's representative said, "After progress was made in contacts with the regulator, Mr. Gurvitz interrupted his vacation abroad and visited Israel for a few hours to meet with El Al representatives and immediately returned to his home in the US."

Gurvitz's representatives then met with El Al's board of directors. Gurvitz has offered a 'friendly deal' and hopes to take joint control with the controlling owners, Knafaim. The belief is that, "due to progress, Mr. Gurvitz expects to come to Israel again to complete the deal." His representative added, "This is not a hostile takeover bid for El Al because Gurvitz is determined to share ownership with Knafaim."

The Government Companies Authority has confirmed that there have been discussions about the permit that Gurvitz has applied for (for control of between 25%-39.99% of the company) as well as the application by Israel-Russian businessman David Sapir.

The Government Companies Authority said, "The Authority has met with two additional bidders, set out for them the examination procedure and timetables, and provided the applicants with requests for information. With the receipt of answers for the requests for information, the Authority will begin implementing its examination."

The first bidder, who has already received a permit to control El Al is Eli Rozenberg, the son of New York based businessman Kenny Rozenberg. He has offered NIS 0.67 per share in the upcoming public offering for a total of $101 million for a 44.9% stake in El Al. The airline is supposed to complete the offering by Monday, August 31. After the offering the State has agreed to provide guarantees for 75% of bank loans worth $250 million.

Gurvitz, 65, is an Israel-British businessman who has been based in the US in recent years. He has real estate interests and is the controlling shareholder in Arazim Investment Ltd. (TASE: AZRM).

Gurvitz is represented in Israel by Adv. Ronen Zivtar of Zivtar Galor & Co. law offices and Debby Group Communications and PR.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 28, 2020 © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

El Al plane  / Photo: Yoav Yaari
El Al plane / Photo: Yoav Yaari
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