Published On: Thu, Dec 18th, 2014

David Wiessman sells entire Blue Square stake

The market may interpret the sale by the outgoing CEO, in bitter dispute with his partner Shraga Biran, as a vote of no confidence.

David Wiessman Dudi

 

The bitter dispute with Shraga Biran, his partner, has led Alon Holdings Blue Square – Israel Ltd. (NYSE: BSI; TASE: BSI) CEO David Wiessman to sell all his private holdings in the company (about 1% of its capital) for NIS 7.2 million. The sale, which the market is likely to interpret as a vote of no confidence in the company he manages, was an off-floor transaction at around the market price.

Alon Holdings Blue Square, which owns the Mega retail chain and Dor Alon Energy in Israel (1988) Ltd. (TASE:DRAL), is controlled by Biran and Wiessman’s Alon Israel Oil Company Ltd. with a 73% stake. Alon Holdings Blue Square’s share is traded at about $184.6 million market cap. As a result of the Mega chain’s poor performance in recent years, the company’s share has lost 25% of its value this year, and 40% over the past three years.

The sale of Wiessman’s shares follows a struggle between the two main shareholders in Alon Israel Oil, in which controlling shareholder Biran fired Wiessman from his position as CEO of Alon Israel Oil, effective when his employment contract expires at the end of the year. Biran wants to appoint former Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. (TASE: CLIS) and former Hadassah Medical Center director Avigdor Kaplan in Wiessman’s place.

In view of Wiessman’s expected departure from the post of Alon Israel Oil CEO and management positions in the companies it holds, (including Alon Holdings Blue Square), Limor Ganot, considered close to Wiessman, announced in recent days her wish to resign as joint CEO of Alon Holdings Blue Square.

Sources expressed the belief that the dispute between the controlling shareholders in Alon Israel Oil will end with one of them relinquishing ownership of the group, which is one of Israel’s strongest holding companies. The current mediator between the quarreling partners is Adv. Eli Zohar.

Biran is the wealthier of the two. He owns 80% of the shares in Beilsol, a private company through which he controls Alon Israel Oil. Wiessman owns only 20% of Beilsol, but is currently considered the driving force in the group, and the man identified more than anyone else, for better and for worse, with the company’s business endeavors in the energy, retail, and real estate sectors in Israel and overseas.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com

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