Hapoel Jerusalem officially switching hands

Group led by businessman Ori Allon and including NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire officially taking over the club.

July 12, 2013 00:35
2 minute read.
A GROUP headed by Ori Allon (above) is set to officially take over Hapoel Jerusalem basketball club

Ori Allon 370. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Hapoel Jerusalem is set to embark on a new era on Friday when a group led by businessman Ori Allon will officially take over the club.

The administrator general announced last week that the Allon group, which also includes New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, advertising bigwig Eyal Chomski and American sports agent Arn Tellem, won the bid to purchase a 60 percent stake of Hapoel previously owned by Guma Aguiar.

Following Aguiar’s disappearance at sea off the coast of Florida a year ago, his ownership stake was put up for sale and the Allon group was awarded his shares after promising to invest NIS 15 million in the club over the next three seasons.

However, the Allon group, headed by the 32-year-old Israeli, who made his fortune in the US by selling hi-tech startups to Google and Twitter, will only officially take charge of the club on Friday when the Hapoel Jerusalem organization approves the deal. The organization, which had owned 40 percent of the club, was given 90 days to match the Allon group’s offer and seize complete control of the club.

However, the two parties reached an agreement to cooperate after several days of negotiations, with the organization to name three of the 11 board members and also have the right of refusal should the Allon group choose to sell its stake.

The Allon group will ultimately own 90 percent of the club, with the organization to maintain 10 percent of the shares.

The organization’s board will meet on Friday to officially vote on the deal, but it has already announced that it will unanimously endorse it.

Former club chairman Danny Klein, who remains involved with the organization, was initially believed to be pushing to match Allon’s offer, but he confirmed on Thursday that he too will vote in favor of the agreement.

“The organization came to the conclusion that even if it can match Allon’s offer it would be better off not to scare away this investment group,” Klein told Army Radio.

“I’m happy that this is all behind us now and we need to start working to build a strong Hapoel Jerusalem. I forecast a bright future for the club. The Allon group owns the club, but they will receive any help they require from the organization. No one would be happier than me if these people achieve success with Hapoel Jerusalem.”

With other teams well into their preparations for next season, the new ownership group will have little time to waste as it rebuilds the club. As well as players to fill the roster, Allon will have to select a new CEO and coach, with Brad Greenberg, who guided Maccabi Haifa to the BSL championship last season, believed to be one of the favorites for the vacant position.

Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv continued to bolster its roster on Thursday, signing playmaker Tyrese Rice to a twoyear deal.

The 26-year-old American arrives from FC Bayern Munich where he averaged 15.8 points and 4.4 assists while helping his team reach the German League semifinals.

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