Business Post: Tnuva buyer to be chosen next week

By YA’AKOV HECHT
January 25, 2007 22:34

Sale of controlling interest in the dairy cooperative to Apax Partners made for $1.105 billion.

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Business Post: Tnuva buyer to be chosen next week

Tnuva milk 88. (photo credit: )

The purchase of Tnuva is entering the homestretch, and opinion is that the buyer's identity will be determined next week. The Apax Investment Fund, which won the tender to acquire the company, has encountered difficulties in completing the purchase, due to the dairy farmers' vigorous opposition. Businessman Meir Shamir continues preparing to gain full control of the company, whole at the same time engaging in contacts with Apax, in an attempt to acquire control with it. TheBpost has learned that contacts between the parties are expected to reach conclusion by the end of the coming week. Last November, Tnuva's Tenders Committee decided to sell the controlling interest in the dairy cooperative to Apax Partners for $1.105 billion. More than a year-and-half ago, Apax, one of the world's largest private equity investment funds, was a partner in acquiring the controlling interest in Bezeq, along with businessman Haim Saban. Apax's acquisition of the controlling interest in Tnuva is supposed to receive approval from Tnuva at its general meeting, to be held next month. Members of the general meeting include representatives of 620 moshavim and kibbutzim, and approval for sale of the controlling interest will need to win the consent of 75 percent of the members. Last week, Shamir began negotiations with Apax, after his contacts with the dairy producers reached an impasse. The dairy farmers and milk producers are interested in preventing the sale of the controlling interest in Tnuva to Apax, and are seeking to draft an alternative proposal for acquiring ownership, in order to ensure that there will be no change in their long-term arrangements with Tnuva. The dairy farmers and Shamir discussed the possibility that both parties would enter into an equal partnership in Tnuva, but it became clear to Shamir that should he enter into joint ownership with them, he would not be able to issue Tnuva's share capital. Such an issue would not be possible, due to a slew of legal restrictions, stemming from the fact that the dairy farmers, who hold a portion of Tnuva's shares, also supply milk to the cooperative.


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