Another “match” between a financial entity and an urban renewal company: The Yaz Group recently announced that the American investment fund Community Fund of investment manager and businessman Jeremy Blank has entered as a partner in the Yaz subsidiary Urban Renewal. Globes has learned that this is a deal worth hundreds of millions of shekels, but for now the parties refuse to disclose the exact amount.
According to the agreement, the American investment fund will hold 49% of the company’s shares, so that the Yaaz Group will hold 51% of the company. According to this summary, the group will continue to control the subsidiary, and the top management will not change, so Tomer Reifman will continue to serve as CEO and will dare urban renewal.
Sources in Yaz point out that recently they have received inquiries “from prominent companies in the real estate industry and large investment bodies in Israel,” but these have been examined and found not worthwhile for the company. Dare to take a loan from the new partner.
The Yaaz Group has more than 50 years of experience in initiating and executing infrastructure projects, public construction, security work, residential construction, preservation of buildings and more. The Urban Renewal subsidiary was established about a decade ago and is active mainly in Tel Aviv, as an entrepreneurial and executive company, and promotes projects in which more than 2,500 housing units are planned – both in evacuation-construction and in NAP 38. To date, the company has delivered and housed dozens of projects in Tel Aviv.
Keren Community invests in shares and bonds of private companies in the field of real estate, technology, telecom and communications in the United States and Israel. The fund invests entities such as Bank Leumi, the Phoenix Insurance Company, the IBI Investment House, Moore Investment House and more. The fund is headed by Jeremy Blank, a former representative of the American hedge fund York in Israel.
Blank is well acquainted with the Israeli market, with an emphasis on the capital market, and was involved in the acquisition of the Phoenix by the York Foundation in 2006. He served for 15 years as the fund’s representative in Israel and retired at the end of 2020. Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem, which the fund granted its owner a loan to purchase the hotel in 2018.
Blank and York filed a lawsuit in a Luxembourg court for the realization of the lien, alleging breach of the terms of the loan, and the court accepted their position and in effect transferred the hotel shares into their hands.
Shortly after retiring from York, at the end of 2020, Blank established the Community Fund, which operates on several levels in the Israeli investment market. The fund’s investment in the Yaz Group is considered to be its most significant to date in the Israeli real estate industry.
Tomer Reifman, CEO of Yaaz Urban Renewal, stated: “The investment of an international fund and leading institutional bodies in the company is a clear expression of confidence in Yaaz’s capabilities and experience in the field of urban renewal in Tel Aviv. The partnership will enable a significant increase in the mass of our projects in Tel Aviv and beyond. The company continues to maintain a conservative and un leveraged conduct, as it has been in the past. The investment will help continue to lead the field of urban renewal in Tel Aviv, as well as the development of additional cities, in which Ya’az has already begun to operate. “
A series of acquisitions in the sector since the second half of 2021
Since the second half of the past year, the urban renewal sector has carried out a variety of acquisitions of companies with experience in the field, from many financial and institutional entities, from banks, through insurance companies to investment funds. This trend indicates an expectation on the part of the large financial entities in the economy for significant and sustained growth of the sector in the coming years.
In July 2021, Bank Leumi acquired 20% of Anglainvest for NIS 60 million – only about a week after acquiring 7.5% of ICR shares in Israel Canada and the Nakash brothers for NIS 70 million; In July, Menora Mivtachim announced that it would invest NIS 100 million in Red Sea Group’s urban renewal projects, and in November it announced a similar investment in four urban renewal training projects; In October 2021, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank purchased 20% of Radco’s urban renewal shares for NIS 60 million, and Phoenix announced that it had acquired 25% of the White City buildings, and in this framework will invest up to NIS 420 million in the company.
The pace continued at the beginning of the current year: at the beginning of March, Menora Mivtachim announced that it would acquire a stake in Ram Aderet, in a transaction that reflects a value of NIS 300 million for the acquired company; The Phoenix announced in March that it would acquire 20% of the Mediterranean Builders Company and invest NIS 112 million; A few weeks later, the insurance company announced that it had also acquired 20% of the Best Group for NIS 220 million.