TEL AVIV, March 12 (Reuters) - Leumi Partners and Stifel Investment Banking have teamed up to provide investment banking services in Israel, aiming to capture a large share of the country’s booming high-tech business.
Stifel, a subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp, said the partnership will enable it take a more prominent role in Israel. Leumi Partners, the investment banking arm of Israel’s second-biggest bank, Leumi, is looking to offer services overseas.
The partnership has already landed its first deal -- the government’s privatisation of Israel Military Industries (IMI), developer of the Uzi submachine gun and other arms and ammunition.
“We could have gone on doing a couple of deals here every year but we wanted a market leadership role,” Steven Levy, Stifel’s managing director for mergers and acquisitions, told a news conference on Thursday.
A couple of the more high-profile initial public offerings Stifel handled were SodaStream International’s in 2010 and CaesarStone Sdot-Yam’s IPO in 2012.
Yaron Bloch, chief executive of Leumi Partners, said many of its investment banking clients, particularly in high tech, have most of their activities abroad, where it is difficult for the Israeli bank to provide full services.
Leumi sought to partner with an investment bank focused on small and mid-cap markets, which are most relevant to Israeli companies.
“This is not just for Israeli companies looking for targets overseas but also international companies tapping into the Israeli market or looking for buyout targets,” Bloch said.
“A lot of Israeli companies are becoming acquisition targets for foreign companies.”
Levy said the sale of IMI was more complex than a typical company sale as it is being done through a public tender. Leumi and Stifel will soon reach out to potential buyers who have indicated interest.
“There are some surprising names,” he said, adding the goal was to complete the sale of IMI by the end of the year. (Reporting by Tova Cohen)