Canadian Jewish family in talks to buy Clal Insurance

The Ghermezians are also interested in investing in gas exploration partnerships.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Canada's Ghermezian family is one of the parties interested in acquiring Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. (TASE: CLIS) from IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH), controlled by chairman Nochi Dankner. The Canadian Jewish family, through its TripleFive Group of Companies, is engaged in real estate, hotels, minerals, oil and gas, truck manufacturing, biotechnology, and engineering. The family's wealth is estimated at $4 billion.

A representative of the family, Nader Ghermezian, is managing the talks and held several meetings with Dankner and other IDB executives last month. He also met with representatives of Goldman Sachs, which IDB hired to handle the sale.

Talks for a sale of Clal Insurance are around a company value of $2 billion, a 40% premium on its current market cap, and similar to its estimated value. As IDB owns 55% of Clal Insurance, which means that Dankner is asking for $1.1 billion for his stake.

IDB said in response, "As IDB has reported before, the company has received several inquiries about a possible sale of its holding in Clal Insurance. The company has made it clear that it intends to review the offers to sell its holding in Clal Insurance only if the offers reflect worthwhile terms. The company has no intention of referring to the identity of any particular investor."

The Ghermezian family is believed to be one of the more serious of the parties that have sent out feelers about a possible acquisition of Clal Insurance.

The Ghermezian family is planning to set up business in Israel, and representatives met senior Ministry of National Infrastructures officials to examine TripleFive's participation in Israel's oil and gas exploration industry. The company is reportedly in contract with several exploration partnerships.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 26, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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