The new owners of Bank Leumi will be in Jerusalem for the first time today to take part in a ceremony marking the acquisition of the country's second-largest bank.
The Cerberus-Gabriel group led by Gabriel President J. Ezra Merkin, will be greeted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, as well as by the senior management of Bank Leumi. Dan Quayle, Cerberus chairman and the former vice-president of the US, will not take part in the ceremony according to reports in the Hebrew press.
The New-York based consortium bought control of Bank Leumi in November. Cerberus-Gabriel, which manages investments totaling some $16 billion, bid NIS 2.474b., or NIS 17.50 per share, to acquire a 9.99 percent holding in Bank Leumi. The bid price reflected a 54% premium over Leumi's shareholders equity.
Cerberus Capital Management and Gabriel Capital, have also acquired an 18-month option to buy another 10.01% and a controlling stake for NIS 14.70 a share.
In order to take up the option to buy the additional stake, the consortium still awaits permission from the Bank of Israel and other authorities to hold a controlling stake in Leumi.
Unsuccessful bidders in the tender for the government's stake in Leumi included strategic investors like Lev Leviev, IDB and Bill Davidson, as well as financial contenders like UBS, Deutsche Bank and Citicorp.
The ceremony will be attended by the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, the Supervisor of Banks Yoav Lehman and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.
Other participants from the Cerberus-Gabriel consortium are expected to include Frank Bruno, Cerberus president of global investments.