According to the Israeli financial website Globes, Sheldon Adelson is in advanced negotiations to purchase the Ha’aretz printing plant. The deal is believed to be in the order of $25 million dollars.
Over the past few months, Adelson’s free daily, Yisrael Hayom, has been searching for a new printing facility to replace the Ha’aretz plant where it currently prints its daily freesheet. Ha’aretz’s plant handles the printing for a number of different newspapers.
Adelson had recently been in negotiations with Nochi Dankner, a major shareholder and chairman of publicly traded IDB Group, Israel’s largest diversified business group with assets of more than $30 billion, to purchase Ma’ariv’s Levin Epstein Printing House. But that deal apparently fell through, striking a hard blow for Ma’ariv which is desperately strapped for cash. Ma’ariv has been looking to sell the printing plant and the land it sits on.
Many Israeli newspapers have been firing staff and “streamlining” these past few months. The right-wing Makor Rishon is one notable exception to the rule.
Globes reports that Ha’aretz announced it was firing 70 employees, some 32 from their own paper, and the rest from their financial daily, The Marker. Yediot Achronot will be firing dozens, many of them likely to be dropped from its website Ynet. Ma’ariv recently shut down its weekday print run, and fired 30 employees in June.
Yediot executives are blaming Adelson and Yisrael Hayom for destroying the Israeli newspaper industry, and more specifically, for destroying Ha’aretz and Yediot Achronot with the introduction of the free daily broadsheet.