Commissioner of Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings Moshe Bareket has given the green light for the acquisition of investment house Halman Adubi by The Phoenix Holdings Ltd. (TASE: PHOE1;PHOE5), which already holds Excellence investment House. The deal whereby the firm founded in 1995 will become part of the largest insurance group in Israel in terms of market cap will be completed this Sunday. This brings to an end a story that began in 2019, when The Phoenix Holdings sought to acquire Halman-Aldubi Provident and Pension Funds, and continued with Altshuler Shaham Provident Funds and Pension vying with The Phoenix in 2020, and later signing an agreement to buy investment house Psagot from private equity firm Apax Partners.
Bareket’s approval is the last substantial permit that the parties to the deal needed to obtain in order to complete it. The Competition Commissioner has already given consent, and rating agency Midroog has announced that there will be no downgrade of the bonds of the investment house being acquired, which means that there is no need to obtain approval from the bondholders.
The acquisition price is NIS 275 million. As part of the deal, Halman Aldubi’s new pension business will be sold to Meitav-Dash by the end of May for NIS 45 million, such that the net cost to The Phoenix of Halman Aldubi’s provident funds, old pension funds, and advanced training funds, which it will retain, will be NIS 230 million. Completion of the deal on Sunday will reduce the number of independent players in the new pensions market to eight.
For the controlling shareholders in Halman Aldubi, headed by the founders Uri Aldubi, who serves as chairman of the investment house, and Rony Halman, this is the end of a long road traveled independently, which included flotation on the stock exchange in 2017 through a merger into stock exchange shell company Soho Real Estate. “The deal being completed today and that will come into effect on Sunday values Halman Aldubi at NIS 275 million, almost double its valuation when it went public,” Aldubi said today. “We are ending a long period with sadness, but also with satisfaction and great pride in a series of achievements.”
The sale of the investment house was accompanied by battles between the minority shareholders and the controlling shareholders. Among the beneficiaries of the sale is IBI Investment House, which holds about a third of the shares in Halman Aldubi, a stake it received when it merged its provident and advanced training funds with those of the firm.
For The Phoenix, headed by Eyal Ben Simon, this is part of a strategic plan that includes expanding the assets managed by the company, particularly assets that do not tie down a great deal of capital. The company, controlled by foreign investment funds Centerbridge Partners and Gallatin Point Capital, can be expected to bid to acquire more asset management activity.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on February 24, 2021
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