Clal Insurance raises $158 mn via share sale, thwarts takeover bid

 Clal Insurance raises $158 mn via share sale, thwarts takeover bid

Israeli insurance company Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd has raised NIS493 million ($158 million) via a share sale on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The sale helped the insurer thwart a takeover attempt by real estate company Arlov Properties and Lodgings Ltd, which is controlled by businessman Alfred Akirov, Israeli media reports said.

Clal has denied such reports, saying the share sale was intended only to raise fresh capital for the company.

Arlov bought shares worth NIS60 million in the offer. As a result, its stake in Clal fell slightly below the 15% it held previously. To maintain its stake, it would have had to buy shares worth NIS75 million.

Akirov, who has reportedly had strained relations with Clal’s management, had in December sought to raise his stake in the insurer to 30%. He had sought regulatory approval to take a controlling stake in Clal by buying another 15% shares from the market for NIS800 million.

Clal has a market value of NIS5.3 billion, while Arlov is worth NIS4.6 billion.

Akirov’s bid to take a controlling stake in Clal had generated debate in the local media, with prominent publications like Haaretz arguing against letting a tycoon take control of the insurer.

Clal is Israel’s third-largest insurance company, managing assets worth NIS250 billion ($79 billion).

“Akirov has no experience or expertise in the insurance market, so his potential to contribute to the company seems doubtful,” Haaretz said in an editorial last month.

“Moreover, he has a record of terrible corporate governance, as revealed in a special report prepared by retired Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger on the goings-on at Clal Insurance. Nothing in Akirov’s history or current conduct makes him a desirable candidate to control Clal Insurance,” Haaretz said.

Aman Malik

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