from the April 2012 issue

Goldman Sachs buys 10% of Viola Group

Goldman Sachs paid $20 million for the stake in Viola Group, which manages $2 billion in investments. Goldman Sachs Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GS) has acquired 10% of Viola Group for $20 million, giving a company value of $200 million. The investment is solely financial; Goldman Sachs will not participate in Viola Group's management.

Viola Group will remain in the hands of Shlomo Dovrat, Avi Zeevi, and Harel Beit-On. The company's partners will share the proceeds of the deal.

Goldman Sachs is one of the biggest foreign investors in Israel. It acquires stakes in companies, mostly in high tech, and has made ten investments in Israeli companies to date. Sources inform ''Globes'' that it has invested over $250 million in Israeli companies in the past few years.

Investments include Powermat Technologies Ltd., Mobileye Inc., and Cyber-Ark Ltd. (the last was a joint investment with Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP)). Most of the investments were not announced. Goldman Sachs is traditionally closed-lipped, and declines to comment in any way about its acquisitions and transactions.

Viola Group incorporates several firms, which manage $2 billion between them: Carmel Ventures, which manages $600 million; Plenus Venture Lending Fund, which manages $300 million; Vintage Investment Partners, a fund of funds which manages $350 million; Viola Private Equity, which manages $150 million; and Vpartners, which manages $280 million.

Viola was briefly in talks last month with Nochi Danker to acquire control of Clal Industries and Investments Ltd. (TASE: CII) from IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH) for NIS 1.52 billion, but the talks were broken off, and Dankner reached a deal with the Livnat family instead.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report April 2012

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