JERUSALEM, April 19 (Reuters) - 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)