Gov’t approves $75m bid for stake in El Al to son of millionaire US businessman
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Gov’t approves $75m bid for stake in El Al to son of millionaire US businessman

Eli Rozenberg wins approval for 44.9% controlling share in beleaguered airline, which must decide whether to take offer, or accept bailout package and nationalization

Grounded El Al planes at Ben Gurion Airport on April 6, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Moshe Shai/ Flash90)
Grounded El Al planes at Ben Gurion Airport on April 6, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Moshe Shai/ Flash90)

JTA — Eli Rozenberg, the son of millionaire US businessman Kenny Rozenberg, is closer to acquiring a large stake in El Al Airlines.

Israel’s Government Companies Authority agreed to support Rozenberg’s $75 million bid for a 44.9 percent controlling stake in the country’s flagship airline, which has been laid low by the coronavirus pandemic, the Globes business daily reported on Wednesday.

Now El Al must decide whether to accept the offer or take a government bailout package that would include a government-backed loan and a stock offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Under the bailout, the state would retain a 61% stake in the airline, leading again to its nationalization. The airline was privatized in 2004.

Rozenberg, 30, is a resident of Israel and an Israeli citizen. His father, who lives in New York, owns the Centers Health Care, a national chain of nursing homes and affiliated services in the United States.

The airline has seen catastrophic losses since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing restrictions to curtail its spread, which barred most foreigners from entering Israel and ordered quarantine restrictions on Israelis returning from abroad.

The government, the airline and worker unions for its staffers have been embroiled in talks about a rescue package for months.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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