American businessman Sheldon Adelson made a surprise visit yesterday to the i24news international news channel studio in Jaffa, news website Globes said,
The billionaire, who owns the “Israel Hayom” daily newspaper, was accompanied by his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, and others. i24news rejected allegations that the purpose of the visit was business, saying Adelson’s visit was due to his interest in the channel’s activity on behalf of Israel, the report said.
i24news, owned by Patrick Drahi, consists of three television channels that broadcast all over the world in three languages and present the news from an Israeli perspective. However, broadcasts by the channels in Israel have not been approved by regulators.
i24news CEO Frank Melloul has more than once expressed dismay on the subject, and even met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan, who expressed open support for the channel’s broadcasts in the country, Globes said.
Speculation has more than once focused on the future media investments of Adelson, who is close to Netanyahu. Even though he owns one of the two most widely distributed newspapers in Israel, the hypothesis that he also wants to own a television station is not unfounded, according to the report.
The i24news international news channel said, “i24news is generating a great deal of interest on both the international and local level. From the day it was founded, hundreds of senior figures, including presidents, ministers, diplomats, and communications leaders, have toured the channel’s studios. Like many of his predecessors, businessman Sheldon Adelson also wanted to visit the channel’s studios in Jaffa. Adelson toured the studios and praised the part of i24news in the international public opinion war.”
Meanwhile, AP named Adelson as one of the big-dollar donors to this year’s U.S. midterm election campaign. It said Adelson, who has an estimated self-worth of $29 billion, gave $5 million to political groups during this year. He was also the biggest patron of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, the report said.
In another development, Forbes issued its list of the top 10 winners and losers of 2014 among the world’s richest people. It said Adelson was the biggest loser as shares of his Las Vegas Sands casino and resort company fell nearly 30%, costing the mogul $10.8 billion this year, with China continuing to indicate that it will crack down on illegal activities in its Macau gambling district, where he operates three casinos.