Business diary

Middle East firms compete for £50k prize

By Candice Krieger, September 17, 2009

Israeli and Jordanian start-up companies have made it through to Seedcamp Week 2009, a competition hosted by early-stage investment fund Seedcamp, which was founded by Index Ventures’ Saul Klein and Reshma Sohoni, formerly of 3i. Twenty-one finalists — which include Talasim, a Jordanian online social network and photo sharing service, and YubiTech, an Israeli software provider that makes it easier to install mobile applications — will compete for a €50,000 investment. Seedcamp Week begins on Monday in central London (www.seedcamp.com).

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Wealthy club for Ronson

By Candice Krieger, August 27, 2009

Property chief Gerald Ronson is pooling together a club of wealthy investors for a new investment group to take advantage of property opportunities in current market conditions. Ronson’s Heron International is expected to invest as much as £75m in the fund and it is the first time Ronson has launched a fund open to third-party investment. Unfortunately, we understand that entry is by invitation-only.

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Leviev’s sale

By Candice Krieger, August 27, 2009

Billionaire Lev Leviev’s Africa-Israel Group has sold an undeveloped Miami property, known as Block 42, for $39m, less than half its original asking price of $88.7m. Ouch...

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Knickers will fly

By Candice Krieger, August 6, 2009

El Al will be selling Victoria’s Secret beauty products on its planes. The airline has signed a deal with the American retailer which will run from September. The products will be offered on all flights, with lingerie to be introduced later on. Oy vey — wonder how that will go down with the Orthodox jet-set?

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Osem buys yarden

By Candice Krieger, August 6, 2009

Israeli food maker Osem UK has agreed to buy British kosher food distributor Yarden GB for at least £1.9 million. Giora Zucker, MD of Osem UK, said: “This acquisition significantly increases our coverage of the UK kosher foods market.” Osem UK Limited were advised by Mishcon de Reya.

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Israel house prices on up

By Candice Krieger, July 23, 2009

Israel apartment sales are at record highs, according to a survey this month by Globes. Moreover, it showed the average maximum price people are willing to pay for a home has risen to NIS 979,746 (£152,400), 20.9 per cent more than in January.

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Ronson takes a fancy to feng shui

By Candice Krieger, July 23, 2009

Property boss Gerald Ronson doesn’t strike one as the feng shui type. But it appears he has become quite au fait with the concept. Last week, at a ceremony laying a time capsule in the foundations of Heron Tower — to be London’s tallest office building – Mr Ronson, wearing a hard hat and fluorescent jacket, explained how the capsule included an ethically-sourced tortoiseshell. He said: “In feng shui theory, the tortoise, dragon, phoenix and tiger form four kinds of energy that surround a building. The tortoise represents a strong back, protection and security.”

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Joe Lewis’s new seat

By Candice Krieger, July 23, 2009

The Bahamas-based billionaire and owner of Spurs, Joe Lewis, has gained a seat on the board of pub group Mitchells & Butlers after becoming the largest shareholder. He holds a 23 per cent stake and is believed to be interested in M&B’s property assets.

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New status for Israel

By Candice Krieger, July 16, 2009

Israel has been updated from an ‘emerging’ market to a ‘developed’ one by index compiler MSCI Barra. As of May 2010, the MSCI Israel Index will beincluded in the MSCI World Index, which includes most developed markets.

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Devono joins Stelios to boost Easyoffice

By Candice Krieger, July 2, 2009

Easyjet entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is expanding his property portfolio and has appointed Devono, the tenant representative specialist run by Robert Leigh, to help him.

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