"Ma'ariv" fails to publish

The Jerusalem District Court will hear publisher Shlomo Ben-Tzvi's petition for a stay of proceedings today.

Hebrew daily "Ma'ariv" was not published today. Just before the start of the Sabbath on Friday, management notified the newspaper's employees that they should not prepare to publish the Sunday edition, and that the Saturday evening shift should not turn up for work. The Jerusalem District Court will today hear the petition for a stay of proceedings filed by "Ma'ariv" publisher Shlomo Ben-Tzvi.

Upon notification that the Sunday edition would not be published, "Ma'ariv's" journalists committee sent a circular to employees, saying, "We are still committed to the newspaper and we will continue to fight for our rights and a future in which "Ma'ariv" will be a workplace that respects us, its employees. On Sunday, we will go to the Jerusalem District Court and tell it that we are not giving up on "Ma'ariv" or on the campaign for our jobs and our rights."

Meanwhile, "Ma'ariv" trustees Adv. Yaron Arbel and Shlomo Nass have asked the court to dismiss Ben-Tzvi's petition for a stay of proceedings and to move the hearing to the Tel Aviv District Court. In their motion, they say that Ben-Tzvi's outstanding debt in the settlement is NIS 3.4 million. They also state that the transfer of "Ma'ariv's" assets and activity by Ben-Tzvi's Hirsch Print Ltd. to Makor Rishon Hameuchad (Hatzofe) Ltd. and Israeli Business Weekly Ltd. contravenes Ben-Tzvi's explicit commitments made in July 2013.

"The petition for the stay of proceedings indicates that the controlling shareholder of the companies filing the motion is now seeking to complete the action under the cover of the court by transferring the companies' profitable activity to a company controlled his family members for pennies, and by means that can be expected to be considered as forbidden preference, especially in view of the fact that the lien in favor of the company controlled by the family members was registered only a week before the motion for a stay of proceedings was filed, all this in a series of transactions that will leave "Ma'ariv's" creditors and employees with no recourse."

The trustees state that, in the past two months, there have been contacts with Ben-Tzvi and his representatives, but that, in the past few days, his representatives have disappeared. "It is now clear to the trustees why" they state, "The proposed recovery process will seriously harm the interests of "Ma'ariv's" employees. To the best of the trustees' knowledge, the buyer has violated his commitments to these employees as set out in the agreement signed between the employees and the buyer… "Ma'ariv's" employees are an integral part of "Ma'ariv's" activity, its brand, and reputation. Therefore, they cannot be severed from "Ma'ariv's" activity as if they do not exist, and the hearing in their affairs should be held together with the other issues related to "Ma'ariv" and its creditors."

The "Ma'ariv" journalists committee and the Israel Journalists Association said in response, "Shlomo Ben-Tzvi has deceived everyone throughout the process. We do not trust him. He has sought to liquidate "Ma'ariv" and for this purpose, he stoops to using false presentations, transferring assets from one company to another, violating agreements, and applying financial pressure on the employees. It is now clear to everyone that, from the outset, Ben-Tzvi had no intention of fulfilling the agreement he signed with the employees."

The "Ma'ariv" journalists committee and the Journalists Association said that they would fight for the employees' rights. "Ben-Tzvi has not paid February salaries, he has not paid freelances for several months, and he has not transferred money to the pension funds since July 2013, despite his promise to do so, and we will seek the payment of this money. The data disclosed to the court on Friday prove the extent of the theft and raise serious questions about Ben-Tzvi's ability to save the company by means of his proposal."

"Ma'ariv" said in response, "Regular publication of the newspaper will resume immediately after the court approves the petition for the stay of proceedings and approval of the streamlining plan, which includes an additional capital injection by the owners for the continued operation of the newspaper."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 9, 2014

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

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