Bloomberg News

Discount Investment Falls Most in 2 Weeks on Sale Concern

October 24, 2011

(Updates with closing share prices starting in second paragraph.)

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Discount Investment Corp., billionaire Nochi Dankner’s holding company, fell the most in more than two weeks on concern Israel’s Antitrust Authority may hold up an agreement to sell its stake in Shufersal Ltd.

Discount Investment dropped 1.6 percent, the most since Oct. 9, to 40.80 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. Shufersal, the country’s largest supermarket chain, lost 3.7 percent, the most since Sept. 12, to 16.85 shekels.

Discount Investment said Oct. 16 it agreed to sell its 46 percent stake in Shufersal for 2.42 billion shekels ($668 million) to Isralom Properties Ltd. and England’s Noe family. The Bank of Israel will object to the Shufersal deal unless the Bronfmans, who own Isralom Properties, sell their stake in Israel Bank Discount, Globes newspaper reported today.

“It appears that the media noise on the subject of concentration will continue in the near future and could impede the implementation of the deal,” Ori Licht, head of research at I.B.I-Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd.

A government panel that explored how to deal with the concentration of power among 20 families in Israel in September recommended eliminating major cross holdings by groups and strengthening antitrust rules and minority shareholders. Some 20 families control 25 percent of the listed companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, representing one of the highest concentrations among developed economies, the Bank of Israel said in its 2009 annual report.

Discount Bank shares slumped 3.4 percent, the most since Oct. 4, to 6.065 shekels.

The central bank said in an e-mailed statement in response to the Globes article that a decision on Shufersal is within the domain of the Antitrust Authority. The authority hadn’t received a merger notification by the merging parties and thus “no position has been taken on the subject,” Ilan Steiner, an attorney of the Antitrust Authority, said in a phone interview.

--Editors: Susan Lerner, Linda Shen

To contact the reporter on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at ssolomon22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net


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