Two months before the deadline set in the original agreement for obtaining regulatory approval for the sale of controlling interest in the The Phoenix Holdings Ltd. (TASE: PHOE1;PHOE5) insurance group to Chinese group Sirius, it appears that the potential buyers are still far from obtaining approval for the acquisition from the Capital Markets, Insurance, and Savings Supervisor. As far as is known, Sirius was recently asked to submit more documents.
Sources close to Sirius, a group under Chinese control operating in Western countries, are signaling that it wants to complete the deal just as much as in the past, and that it is continuing its efforts to obtain approval from the Supervisor of Insurance - an essential condition for completing the deal - but criticized the company's conduct vis-à-vis the regulatory authorities
Sirius said today in response, "Since the submitting of the request for a control permit on November 2, 2017, Sirius Group (and CMIG, its ultimate controlling shareholder), have provided the regulator with extensive information going far beyond the information required by each of the existing regulators of Sirius around the world. Based on the substance of our submissions and our volunteering of information, Sirius believes that there is no rational basis for not approving our request for a control permit. We expect our request for a permit to hold a controlling interest in Israel to be approved, as it has been approved throughout the world, including in the US, Bermuda, London, and Sweden."
Another agreement signed by Phoenix controlling shareholder Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) to sell its shares in the company to Chinese group Liango expired in June 2017, "in view of the prolonging of the approval process," as Delek Group explained in its financial statements. This was Delek Group's fourth attempt in recent years to sell its shares in Phoenix, shortly after which it signed a fifth such agreement, this time with Sirius.
Three years ago, a non-binding memorandum of understanding was signed by Delek Group and US family Kushner for the sale of Phoenix. A year later, a binding agreement was signed with Chinese company Fosun, followed by a deal with US company AmTrust. All of these agreements expired without a deal.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 9, 2018
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