JERUSALEM, April 19 Israeli billionaire Shari
Arison has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help sell part
of her controlling stake in Israel's largest bank, Hapoalim
, financial newspaper Calcalist reported on Wednesday.
Her investment vehicle, Arison Investments, has been widely
reported in the past to be looking to unload some of its 20.06
percent stake in Bank Hapoalim.
Calcalist, one of Israel's leading financial news outlets,
said Arison hopes the move will jumpstart efforts to find a
strategic partner who will buy at least half her shares.
Both Arison Investments and Bank of America Merrill Lynch
declined to comment.
Bank Hapoalim has a market capitalization of 29.37 billion
shekels ($8 billion).
A sale of a large chunk of Arison's shares would end 19
years of family control over Hapoalim. Arison's father Ted, who
made his fortune as founder of Carnival Cruise Line, was part of
a consortium that bought control of the bank from the
government. Arison, Israel's wealthiest woman, has since bought
out her partners.
($1 = 3.6725 shekels)
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch: Editing by Tova Cohen)