Israel’s leading satellite network manufacturer and provider Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, is believed to be in advanced discussions with a large, yet unnamed, multinational company that is interested in acquiring the Israeli firm, according to a report on Israeli tech news website CalcaList.com.
The unnamed multinational company is believed to be offering Gilat U.S.$579 million to acquire the company, a sum that is calculated to be a 25 percent premium of Gilat’s market capitalization when the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange opened on Sunday, 19 January 2020.
Gilat was founded in 1987 and has since become one of the world’s leading satellite networking component manufacturers and service providers, with business interests in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.
The largest shareholder of Gilat is FIMI Opportunity Funds, holding a 34 percent stake, followed by Mivtach-Shamir Holdings with a 9.7 percent stake. FIMI Opportunity Funds first became involved with Gilat when it acquired an 11 percent stake in 2012 for approximately U.S.$17 million, reflecting at the time a seven percent premium.
In February 2014 FIMI Opportunity Funds acquired from York Capital another 15 percent stake in Gilat for U.S.$10.5 million, and an additional 10 percent stake in a U.S.$25 million tender offer. In 2016, FIMI Opportunity Funds acquired another further 11 percent stake in Gilat as part of an option allocation, establishing at the time a 45 percent stake in the Israeli satellite company, but has since sold of 10 percent of its shares.
By the close of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading on 19 January 2020, Gilat stock had jumped 14.1 percent. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that Gilat stock had been rising the prior week in spite of no public announcements about the acquisition talks and the fact that Gilat stock had been underperforming in the previous 12 months, something the newspaper suggests may indicate insider dealing.
Other major Gilat shareholders include the insurance company Phoenix, with a 5.9 percent stake; Clal Insurance with a 5.4 percent stake; and Harel Insurance with a 1.6 percent stake.
As of press time, the identity of the large multinational seeking to acquire Gilat is still unnamed but is understood to be a non-Israeli company.