“In recent days, information has reached the workers’ committee according to which a concrete deal is being formed for the sale of the company, which is in very advanced stages and is even expected to be signed in the coming days until the weekend.” This is what attorneys Kfir Ze’ev and Lihi Bachar from the law firm as Ze’ev wrote, on behalf of the workers’ committee Peaks, In a letter sent to the foundation Apax Israel, Members of the board of directors of the investment house and its director, and on whom was also written the commissioner of the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Authority, Moshe Barkat.
A letter sent to Globes on Monday this week states that “the information that reached the workers’ representatives shows that the details of the deal have been formulated and the deal will be launched very soon.” Representatives of the Investment House Committee, chaired by Committee Chairman Shlomi Lugassi, point out that in recent days the buzz surrounding the sale of Psagot Investment House, which is wholly owned by the Apax Investment Fund, whose assets in Israel are managed by Zehavit Cohen, has increased. Apax has chosen not to comment on the letter. , To its content and to the question of what is the fund’s response to employee representation, if any.
As far as is known, the employees have not yet received an answer, although they demanded information on the subject, while clarifying that for them, negotiations should be conducted with the employees’ representative at the investment house “before signing any agreement with the buyer”. Collective, when the company’s committee is, as far as is known, in continuous succession with the management and with “all relevant parties”.
According to market estimates, one factor that may be in renewed and serious contacts with Apax regarding Psagot is a group of buyers led by Ron Weisberg. Contacts that took place between Weisberg and Apax, and which had already reached advanced stages of examination earlier this year, expired without an agreement last summer. However, as far as is known the parties have not severed ties between them since then, and they have maintained a small fire and have intensified recently.
At the same time, local capital market sources estimate that Apax is also trying to promote other outlines for the deal to sell its holdings in the investment house it took over in 2010. In this context, the market estimates that Apax’s first ambition is not to sell Psagot in parts while selling the short-term savings activity and managing the portfolios to one entity, unless a splitting sale of the company to two or more entities takes place simultaneously.
Thus, it is not only the Psagot Committee that the possibility of a close deal in Psagot is becoming a possibility, with some in the market estimating that “something will be closed regarding Psagot very soon”, although those around Apax are denying Weisberg or contacts regarding a deal with another body. On the agenda are the two options of selling all peaks and selling peaks in parts. The one who can purchase a provident is the one who will not grow beyond the 15% limit in the long-term savings market and in mutual funds it is the one who will not rise from the peaks to more than 20% of the market.
However, according to estimates in the Apax market, or whoever acts on its behalf or on its behalf, if and to the extent that there is no deal with the group led by Weisberg then Apax may be required to sell Psagot in parts. In this context, the market claims that Clal Insurance has been approached, for example, for the sale of Psagot’s activities, as well as appeals to other entities such as Altshuler Shaham Investment House, which recently competed for the purchase of provident fund and pension from Hellman Aldubi Investment House – where it lost to the Phoenix Group. By the way, the Phoenix Group is still interested in continuing to grow through acquisitions and mergers, even after the acquisition of Hellman Aldubi is completed.
With respect to the names we have mentioned, and others, the market notes that as far as is known there are no advanced contacts with any of them, if at all, even though inquiries have been made and it is possible and there is initial interest. The financial market also estimates that Apax is not happy to issue Psagot on the stock exchange these days.
In any case, although the buzz around Psagot is boiling again these days, in what factors in the market and around the investment house indicate as a feeling of “before the sale”, it is estimated that there are still no signed agreements and no memoranda. Psagot currently manages assets estimated at NIS 165 billion.
The group of private equity funds Apax acquired control (76.2%) of Psagot in 2010 from the York Fund, at a value of NIS 2.7 billion. At the end of 2015, Apax completed the purchase of the remaining shares, when it bought the minority holdings of the Markstone Fund in the investment house (approximately 23%) at a company value of only NIS 1.9 billion to Psagot. In total, Apax paid NIS 2.5 billion for the investment house.
It was previously reported that Apax wanted a value of NIS 3.7 billion on Psagot, but that since then the requested value has shrunk greatly, to a level of about NIS 1.5 billion (with debt remaining in the investment house). Psagot, managed by Reuven Kaplan, holds shares of 9.4% and 0.8% in the new provident and pension markets, respectively.
MClal Insurance It was stated in response that “previous contacts have not matured. If there is new information on this matter, we will be updated accordingly.”