Jewish-Argentinian businessman takes control of Israel’s IDB Holding

BUENOS AIRE (JTA) – Jewish-Argentinian businessman Eduardo Elsztain will rescue the struggling Israeli group IDB Holding Corp.

After a year of negotiations, bondholders and bankers backed on Sunday the plan presented by Elsztain and Israeli businessman Moti Ben Moshe to rescue IDB, and rejected the proposal made by controlling shareholder Nochi Dankner and Ukrainian businessman Alexander Granovsky.

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Elsztain’s proposal received 71 percent approval in a first round of voting, but in the second round Bank Leumi also supported the project proposed by the Argentinian real estate mogul, who obtained the 75 percent of votes needed to take control of the company. IDB controls Cellcom, Israel’s largest mobile phone operator, and leading supermarket chain Super-Sol

Elsztain, 53, is a supporter of several Argentinian Jewish institutions and projects. In recent years he has supported Chabad social programs and Jewish youth-related projects. In May 2013, he was elected a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress and became chairman of the new WJC Business Advisory Council.

To start his first business venture in Israel, Elsztain will partner with Ben-Moshe, an Israeli entrepreneur who leads the holding company Xtra Holdings.

Elsztain is familiar with the entrepreneurship environment; he is former president and current board member of Endeavor Argentina. He is also a supporter of the country’s first Jewish entrepreneurship incubator  in partnership with Hillel Argentina.

Elsztain is chairman and chief executive of IRSA, Argentina’s largest real estate company. IDB is the first IRSA investment in Israel.