TASE Sells 20 Percent Stake to Manikay

YERUSHALAYIM -

In its search for more companies to join its share listings, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has decided to sell an almost 20 percent stake to a New York-based fund, Manikay Partners, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

TASE’s agreement with Manikay values the stock exchange at NIS 551 million ($157 million), said a statement released by the board.

About 30 percent of the shares will be issued to the public through a direct placement, and several institutional strategic entities will acquire an added 21.8 percent stake. The current shareholders and the TASE employees together will hold a 28.3 percent stake on Israel’s only exchange.

The share sale to the public is expected to take place in the last quarter of 2018, the statement said.

The exchange has been sagging due to the delisting of some 200 companies over the last decade, with blame attributed to Israel’s notorious regulatory environment, and a decline in trading volumes.

The sale of a TASE stake was made possible after the exchange demutualized, becoming a for-profit organization last September, and an ownership restructuring. Becoming a for-profit organization enables the TASE to distribute profits and issue shares to the public, which it plans to do on its own exchange in 2019. It also makes it possible for the exchange to offer to buy out its existing shareholders.

“The Israeli public is entitled to benefit from the growth and success of the Israeli economy. TASE is the most suitable platform for sharing this success with the public,” said Ittai Ben-Zeev, TASE CEO, in the statement.

“We believe the entry of international investment groups with extensive experience and in-depth understanding of leading global exchanges, combined with significant share held by the public, is the most appropriate structure for the local stock exchange and one that would support its continued development and growth,” he said.