Ma'ariv talks progress

Ma'ariv Holdings chairman Ofer Nimrodi is in talks to sell all or part of the newspaper to Len Blavatnik.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that, despite attempts to keep discrete, Ma'ariv Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MARV) chairman Ofer Nimrodi is in advanced talks to sell the company, which owns Hebrew daily "Ma'ariv", to Access Industries chairman Len Blavatnik. The negotiations are reportedly underway on two alternatives: one is for Blavatnik to acquire full ownership of Ma'ariv Holdings; and the other is for Blavatnik to acquire part of the company, while Nimrodi will continue to own a stake, albeit smaller one.

The negotiations are reportedly being held at a company value of $90-100 million for Ma'ariv Holdings. A deal is subject to Nimrodi first solving his problems with his current partner in the company, Vladimir Gusinsky, who owns 27% of it. The mediator in this dispute, Adv. Zvi Hefetz, who is an associate of Gusinsky, may be able to persuade him to support a sale of Ma'ariv Holdings to Blavatnik.

Sources at Ma'ariv confirmed that the negotiations with Blavatnik were serious, and that two options were being discussed. However, the sources made it clear that no agreement had been reached by the parties.

Sources close to Blavatnik declined to comment to the report.

Nimrodi and Gusinsky are in arbitration over a series of lawsuits that Gusinsky filed against Nimrodi and Israel Land Development Company (TASE: ILDC), controlled by chairman and CEO Ofer Nimrodi, and which is the parent company of Maariv Holdings. The subject of the lawsuits is Maariv Holdings' acquisition of Hed Arzi Ltd., and against Israel Land Development Communications Ltd. for alleged breach of the shareholders agreement.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 22, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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