Digal Investment and Holdings Ltd. bondholders have withdrawn their support from Palestinian American businessman Bashar Al-Masri in favor of Jerusalem supermarket owner Rami Levy and his partner Australian Jewish businessman Kevin Bermeister, who will buy the company’s Nof Zion residential project in eastern Jerusalem.
The struggle for control of Nof Zion opened in December, when it was revealed that Al-Masri was the client of Adv. Dov Weissglass, who bought the project.
Digal’s bondholders accepted his offer to pay NIS 0.60 per NIS 1 nominal value per bond. The news infuriated Israel’s religious sector, leading to protests and counter bids.
Rami Levy and Bermeister, who founded the file sharing program KAZAA, have now successfully blocked Al-Masri’s bid.
Financially troubled Digal was unable to repay its bondholders and Bank Leumi and was therefore forced to find a buyer.
Nof Zion is located near the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, overlooking the
Old City of Jerusalem, and the Arab village of Jebel Mukhbar. Digal
began construction of the project ten years ago, but has only built 91
of the planned 395 apartments.
During the battle for control, 20 percent of Digal’s bonds changed hands, and their price rose almost six-fold to NIS 0.61.
Rami Levy is chairman of Rami Levi Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006
Ltd., and a member of the Jerusalem City Council and Mayor Nir Barkat’s
Jerusalem Will Succeed party. He also owns and develops many real estate
interests in the city and its environs, including a stake in the
Holyland residential project.