Largest shareholders in Israel Discount Bank begin selling stakes, citing ‘estate planning’

Bronfman, Schron sell 7% of bank's shares; Bronfman says he doesn't believe sale will have any major effects on bank.

Matthew Bronfman 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Eliana Aponte)
Matthew Bronfman 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eliana Aponte)
Matthew Bronfman has begun selling his shares of Israel Discount Bank, he has informed The Jerusalem Post.
He and New York real estate investor Rubin Schron sold seven percent of the bank’s total shares, or 74 million shares, on Monday. Schron and Bronfman still hold 18% of the bank – a majority.
Bronfman said that his decision to begin selling his shares was an “estate planning decision.”
“My dad [Edgar Bronfman Sr.] will be 85 in June, and is not in the best health,” Bronfman said. “I thought it was best, given his health, to deal with the estate planning issues.”
Citibank has placed the sold shares with institutions in America, Europe and Israel.
“There was quite a strong demand for the shares,” Bronfman said, adding that he didn’t believe there would be any major effects on the bank, and emphasizing that this was not a shift in his or his family’s beliefs in the strength of the Israeli economy.
“We’ve got a huge amount of confidence in the new incoming CEO, and we’ll see how things go,” he said.
Outgoing CEO Reuven Spiegel announced his departure from Israel Discount Bank in August. He will be replaced with Bank Hapoalim’s deputy chief executive Lilach Asher-Topilsky.
Bronfman and Schron bought their stakes from the Israeli government in 2005.
They are now in a four-month no-sell period. Discount’s stock fell 3.2% to NIS 6.867 per share, and closed at NIS 7.098 after the sale on Monday.
Bronfman said he did not know when he would sell his next bundle of stock.
Bronfman, CEO of BHB Holdings, is in the middle of building an IKEA depot in the North that is scheduled to open in March, as well as a huge new shopping mall the following summer.
Reuters contributed to this report.