The situation for Israel’s debt-ridden Channel 10 has gone from bad to worse as its biggest investor, cosmetics billionaire Ron Lauder, has bowed out.
The channel, one of only two independent television stations in Israel, has for years been struggling to pay back the millions of shekels it owes to the government, and has been repeatedly saved from going completely dark by a number of midnight-hour reprieves. Lauder, however, who owns a 30 percent stake, has reportedly been sparring with co-shareholder Yossi Maimon over how to pull the station out of its latest crisis, and earlier this week he decided to abandon ship.
As part of the deal, Lauder will transfer 5 percent of his shares to Maiman and the rest will go to a trustee. He will also give the station a final $10 million.
Lauder’s exit will leave the station searching for a new investor, which it desperately needs if it wants to be granted renewal of its broadcast license for 2015.