Publisher Shlomo Ben-Tzvi finalized a deal late Wednesday night to purchase ailing Hebrew daily Ma'ariv for NIS 45 million.

Hundreds of Ma'ariv employees took the streets to protest the deal, which expected to eliminate about 80 percent of Ma'ariv's 1,500-strong workforce.

Nochi Dankner, the controlling shareholder of the IDB Holding Corp unit Discount Investment Corporation, which owns the newspaper, did not attend the Wednesday-night board meeting that approved the deal because he was abroad.

Regarding the compensation due to the newspaper's employees, Dankner reportedly told employees' representatives, "It's important from a social and a democratic point of view that the paper does not close. And most important is how many jobs there will be. Therefore, it is important to me that the Ben-Tzvi deal takes place as quickly as possible. I expect the employees to assist in this."

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