Takeover deal between Israir and UAE investors imminent

Published: 27 October 2020 - 5 a.m.

Negotiations between Israel’s third largest airline and NY Koen Group are expected to conclude in the next few days as UAE investors close in on a deal thought to be worth around $25 million.

Initial talks took place in Dubai last week and negotiations are “going well”, according to a statement from Naum Koen, owner of NY Koen Group.

Ukrainian-born businessman Koen, who is an Israeli dual-national, revealed earlier this month that his group was targeting a takeover of Israel’s third largest airline following the normalisation of relations between the UAE and the Jewish state.

"I'm happy to disclose that the negotiations are going well," said Koen. "We're currently reviewing details regarding corporate objectives and the financial state of Israir. Both NY Koen Group and Israir are excited about the future potential of this purchase and are eager to have the details finalised quickly."

According to a report from Bloomberg, Koen is negotiating to buy Israir based on a valuation of about $25 million – which falls below the $34 million estimate Israir received from its current owner in March. He reportedly estimates the airline will need an extra $20m to cover debts and improvements.

Israir is the largest tour operator in Israel and would complement NY Koen Group’s offering, Koen believe. The group already owns business jet charter firm, Aero Private Jet, which claims to have access to over 7,000 aircraft and 4,000 airports.

"This is the type of purchase that could be the start of something amazing," Koen said. "Hopefully, it would encourage many other business collaborations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates."

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