‘Trying to analyse retroactively the last 12 months is probably the most challenging assignment.’ So reflects Mike Rimon, corporate and securities partner at Meitar Law Offices. ‘Those 12 months consist of the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022. The contradiction is as big and significant and meaningful as it can be.’
It’s no secret that events of the last few months have caused the global economic outlook to change dramatically from the buoyancy of last year. Despite the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic lifting from many parts of the world, a fall in consumer confidence caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, ongoing global supply chain issues and spiralling inflation rates mean that almost every jurisdiction is experiencing a slower 2022. Israel is no exception. Continue reading “Israel focus: Sea change”
For many years, most (practically almost all) of the publicly traded companies in Israel have been controlled by a single shareholder (or by a group of shareholders, acting in concert) – not unlike many other jurisdictions in the world (with the substantial exceptions of the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK)1.
Therefore, for decades the Israeli legislator has been focused on agency costs in general2 and more specifically on horizontal agency costs.3 Among other things, publicly traded companies were required to appoint at least two external directors (who have no linkage to the company and/or to its controlling shareholder/s, whose tenure is limited, whose compensation is subject to statutory caps and whose appointment is to be approved by: (i) a simple majority of all of the shareholders and by (ii) a simple majority of the non-interested shareholders, or with the objection of non-interested shareholders who hold less than 2% of the company’s voting rights – hereinafter a ‘Special Majority’4 and ‘External Directors’). Also – the approval of interested-party transactions involving or related to directors or officers is conditioned upon the approval of any or all (depending on the type and scope of the transaction and the seniority of the office holder in question) of the following organs: the board of directors (the ‘Board’), the Compensation Committee of the Board (in case of approval of terms of employment), or the Audit Committee and the shareholders (and where the interested party is a controlling shareholder – the approval of the Special Majority)5. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Towards better corporate governance of publicly traded companies with no controlling shareholder(s) – The current situation in Israel and the outstanding bill”
The past two years have brought many Covid-19 related challenges in almost every aspect, but as far as intellectual property (IP) in Israel is concerned, it also created opportunities. Israel was not unprepared; its extensive experience in dealing with crises, coupled with its top technological abilities, have proven themselves equal to coping with the pandemic.
All the services of the Israeli Patent Office were provided almost as usual, thanks to the significant investment made in the past to develop online services, with the exception of certain legal proceedings which could not be conducted online. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: The advantages and the disadvantages of a small country”
As the world faces economic uncertainty, rising costs, and inflation, the tech scene in Israel offers optimism and relief. Lee Saunders of Nishlis Legal Marketing comments
Ancient Greeks and Romans once described unicorns as extremely quick and light on their feet, with a horn that was highly prized by merchants and investors. It is a characterisation to be applied to today’s ‘unicorn’ companies – start-ups worth over US$1bn. A disproportionate number of unicorns grow in Israel and have helped the country to weather recent storms. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Israel’s unicorn success story boosts optimism”
We may be looking at a major upheaval in the Israeli M&A market, as recent times have been quite a change compared to the last couple of years.
During 2020-21 the Israeli market, having recovered from the initial Covid-19 influence, has seen exceptionally high volumes of M&A deals. So much so that according to certain analysts, the year of 2021 reflected a 70% increase in overall M&A deal value, with both local and foreign entities acquiring Israeli companies and fuelling the market with cash. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Time and tide – Current trends in the Israeli M&A market”
This question, that greatly concerns the Israeli courts is awaiting a resolution. An initial indication for a resolution can be found in a new Supreme Court ruling which considered and provided guidelines to the circumstances in which foreign choice of law clauses will be honoured. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: The application of Consumer Protection Legislation to international platforms operating in Israel”
It is evident that the year 2021 was a remarkable one for the Israeli tech industry. Multiple companies turned into unicorns and many already coined unicorns either went public or merged with Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) on various stock exchanges worldwide. Still today, nearing the final quarter of 2022, Israeli-based companies continue to be a point of attraction and focus for domestic and foreign investors and strategic and financial acquirers alike, even amidst what some would consider a borderline-recession and during declines in the stock markets globally. Through this whirlwind, some of the desirable sectors we have seen continue to grow and entice interest from investors are data centre services, cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI) based technologies, online shopping and delivery services, agriculture technology and the food-tech industry.
Covid-19 led to a significant surge in demand for data centre services capable of hosting and channelling the enormous volume of cloud-based data and services being created. With social distancing mandates in force, countless employees, students, and consumers were required, or chose, to work, study and shop from the comfort and safety of their homes. The natural effect of this was the further shift of physical interactions to the online realm, resulting in companies and governmental agencies and organisations grappling to maintain operations despite use overload, or adapt to a practically virtual-only world. Data centres came into play as a solution for internet traffic, providing organisations with backup components and infrastructure for power supply, data communication connections, environmental controls, and various security matters. A recent significant transaction in this sector was the sale of 49% of Med-One Ltd’s share capital from the Livnat family (represented by our firm) to the prominent American private equity firm Berkshire Partners and the van Rooyen Group, for a consideration reflecting a company valuation of approximately NIS1.5bn, and we expect to see continued growth in all that is related to data centres and solutions. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Popular tech sectors of today’s transactions”
Few, if any, national economies escaped 2020 with a clean bill of health, and Israel was no exception. As per the Central Bureau of Statistics, the country’s economy contracted by 2.4% across the year, the most severe decline since the state was established in 1948. It is a testament to the unprecedented nature of the past year that Israel’s performance can be considered a relative success story – the average across the OECD countries was a 5.5% decline.
Though economically speaking Israel has fared comparatively well, more generally the region’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is a mixed story. When the first wave of the pandemic hit, Israel was still being overseen by a caretaker government following the inconclusive result of the legislative election in March 2020. A state of emergency was declared and legally enforceable restrictions were introduced, preventing citizens from leaving their homes except for a short list of specified reasons. To ease the economic strain, the government introduced a $22bn economic rescue package to bolster the healthcare system, assist the unemployed and support struggling businesses. These restrictions proved largely effective and by the end of May most restrictions had been lifted, allowing most Israelis to enjoy a relatively free early summer. Continue reading “Israel focus: Land of milk and honey”
Thriving in the face of adversity as politics and security play an integral part in everyday life is a default position for Israel. The data backs this up: recent OECD reports describe Israel as stable with strong economic growth: annual GDP has consistently risen by three to four percent over recent years to reach nearly $400bn in 2019. This, despite a protracted leadership battle taking place with two general elections in six months bringing the nation no closer to a conclusive result.
Michael Barnea, managing partner of Barnea, Jaffa, Lande & Co, develops the point: ‘The environment is surprisingly robust considering the political instability that we’ve experienced for a considerable time. Investment, both from overseas into Israel and in the local market, is extremely strong and gives every appearance of being confident in the future.’ Continue reading “Israel: Anti-fragile”
Every Thursday at 6pm, Yair Geva, co-head of Herzog Fox & Neeman (HFN)’s high-tech department, drinks a beer on the rooftop of a client’s office in central Tel Aviv. The weekly drink, which started seven years ago when he returned to Israel from New York, is a routine that is borne out of professional commitment and friendship. In the start-up and high-tech world, the two often go hand in hand.
‘We share a long journey with our clients and we are often with them from day one,’ Geva says. ‘The only way to keep in touch with this very vibrant dynamic ecosystem is to hang out with friends, clients and hear the news.’ Continue reading “In the game – Israeli law firms embrace risks to secure the tech icons of tomorrow”