On July 28, 2018, Bank Leumi Le-Israel and the Azrieli Group signed an agreement with the Warburg Pincus private equity funds for the sale of Leumi Card, one of Israel’s principal credit card companies, for NIS 2.5 billion. The transaction is being effected against the backdrop of Israeli legislation intended to reduce the concentration in the Israeli banking sector by requiring Israel’s two largest banks to sell their credit card subsidiaries. This is the one of the first situations in which a non-Israeli private equity fund will be applying for a control permit for an Israeli banking entity.
Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co. was honored to be chosen by Bank Leumi and the Azrieli Group to represent them in this transaction. Bank Leumi (TASE:LUMI, fourth-highest market capitalization on the TA-35 index of the largest traded companies in Israel) is one of Israel’s two largest banks. The Azrieli Group (TASE:AZRG, seventh-highest market capitalization on the TA-35 index) is Israel’s largest real estate holding concern.
FBC’s leading role in the transaction further underscores the firm’s pre-eminent position in M&A transactions in highly regulated business sectors in Israel, including the banking, insurance and telecom fields. For nearly two decades, FBC has played a central role in the vast majority of the largest and most complex transactions of this type in Israel. In representing Bank Leumi and the Azrieli Group, FBC drew upon the combination of its considerable experience in high-profile M&A transactions together with its exceptional expertise in the Israeli regulatory environment and close working relationships with Israel’s principal regulators, including the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Israel, the Capital Markets Authority, the Israeli Antitrust Authority, the Ministry of Communications and other regulatory agencies.