Photo Credit:
Shari Arison

Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, on Sunday issued a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange saying that the company’s owner, billionaire Shari Arison, has signed a memorandum of understanding with North American investors according to which said investors would purchase approximately 49% of the issued and paid-up share capital of Arison Holdings, a private company that holds a controlling interest in Bank Hapoalim LTD.

Arison’s 20% share in Bank Hapoalim is valued at $1.9 billion.

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Pursuant to the memorandum, upon completion of the transaction, the total consideration in respect of the Arison Holdings will be calculated according to a computation of $7.11 per share.

Shari Arison, owner of Arison Investments, is Israel’s wealthiest woman. According to Forbes, she is the richest woman in the Middle East, and the only woman to be ranked in the Middle East’s top-20 richest people in 2007. As of 2014, Forbes estimated Arison’s fortune at $4.9 billion, making her the 312th-richest person in the world, and the fourth-richest in Israel.

Arison, 60, was born in New York City, the daughter of Israeli-born businessman Ted Arison and Mina Arison Sapir. After her parents’ divorce, at the age of 12, she left her mother in Israel to live with her father in the US, and five years later she returned to Israel to enlist in the IDF.

In 1997, Ted Arison headed a consortium that purchased the controlling share in the Histadrut labor union’s Bank Hapoalim for more than $1 billion, the largest privatization in Israel’s history.

Shari Arison’s father died in 1999, leaving her 35% of his wealth. In 2003, she caused major protests after firing 900 Bank Hapoalim employees.

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