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French businessman buys Leumi stake in HOT: Patrick Drahi is seeking control of the cable TV company.
[May 03, 2009]

French businessman buys Leumi stake in HOT: Patrick Drahi is seeking control of the cable TV company.

May 03, 2009 (Globes - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) has sold its 11.38 million shares in Hot Cable Systems Media Ltd. (TASE: HOT),14.96 percent of the company, to Cool Holding Ltd. controlled by French businessman Patrick Drahi for NIS 381 million.

Drahi was an executive at United Pan-European Communications NV (UPC), which went bankrupt a few years ago, and which at one point owned 48 percent of Tevel before its merger with Israel's other cable companies to create HOT. UPC is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTYA).

Sources inform "Globes" that Drahi is seeking control of HOT and in recent days has met with representatives of Delek Investments, Fishman Group and Yediot Ahronot and offered to pay NIS 33.50 per share. Drahi has stressed that he is not seeking a hostile takeover but wants to increase his investments in Israel, among other reasons because he is a Zionist.

Bank Leumi will report a post-tax capital gain of about NIS 120 million on the sale.

Leumi's is selling the stake for less than the price of the torpedoed sale to Nochi Dankner's IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH) unit NetVision Ltd. (TASE: NTSN) six months ago.

Bank Leumi sold its HOT stake for NIS 33.50 per share. HOT's share fell 0.9 percent in early trading today to NIS 29.69. Bank Leumi's share rose 1.9 percent to NIS 10.75.

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