Micky Arison bids farewell to Hapoalim

Giving his sister full control of the company, Micky severs ties with the bank.

By ERAN PEER/GLOBES
December 13, 2011 23:16
2 minute read.
Bank Hapoalim

Bank Hapoalim 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / "Avraham" / CC)

 
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Micky Arison has severed his ties with Bank Hapoalim after selling his 23 percent of Arison Holdings Ltd. to his younger sister, Shari Arison, on Tuesday, giving her full control of the company. He owned the stake through Nickel 97A Trust.

The size of the deal is not known, and Arison Holdings declined to comment.

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Arison Holdings owns 20.2% of Bank Hapoalim. The value of the Bank Hapoalim shares that Shari Arison will acquire through the deal is about NIS 800 million, after the 31% fall in the bank’s share price this year.

“This is a family deal,” a person familiar with the matter said.

Micky Arison is the controlling shareholder and chairman of Carnival Corporation and has not been involved in Bank Hapoalim since giving his voting rights to his sister. Globes first reported his wish to sell his stake in Arison Holdings three years ago, but supervisor of banks Roni Hezkiyahu refused to approve a deal, which was then suspended due to the global financial crisis.

At the time, the Bank of Israel was worried about Bank Hapoalim’s conduct, and it did not want Shari Arison to be the sole controlling shareholder of the bank without another counterbalancing party. No bank in Israel has only one controlling shareholder.

In 2009, the Bank of Israel forced the resignation of Bank Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner, who was subsequently indicted on charges of bribery, aggravated fraud, fraud, breach of corporate trust, impairment of proper conduct of a banking corporation and violations of the Prevention of Money Laundering Law. The Bank of Israel feels comfortable with his successor, Yair Seroussi.

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Shari Arison owns 22.62% of Bank Hapoalim, 20.22% through Arison Holdings and 2.4% through wholly owned subsidiary Israel Salt Industries Ltd. She owns Arison Holdings through the foreign trusts Eternity Holdings One Trust and Eternity Four A Trust. Her son, Jason Arison, is a director of Arison Holdings and will reportedly expand his activity in it.

Shari Arison has been gradually increasing her stake in Arison Holdings since 2006 and through it, in Bank Hapoalim. In March 2006, she bought the 15% stake of then Bank Hapoalim chairman Shlomo Nehama.

In December 2006, she bought the stake of Marilyn Arison, the widow of her father, Ted Arison, as part of the redistribution of holdings of the trusts through which the family owns Arison Holdings. Shari Arison reached a 70% stake in the company through these deals.

Shari Arison further increased the Arison Holdings stake in Bank Hapoalim by buying out her American partners – Michael Steinhardt, Len Abramson and the Schusterman family – for the controlling interest in the bank.

She then bought out the Dankner’s stake in Salt Industries

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