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February 26, 2019

Warburg Pincus completes Leumi Card takeover

Private equity firm Warburg Pincus has wrapped up the acquisition of Leumi Card, majority owned by Israeli lender Bank Leumi.

The acquired entity will now operate under the name max.

Warburg Pincus teamed up with three Israeli firms on the transaction.

They are Menora Mivtachim, Clal Insurance and Allied Group, each of which will own 5% of the company’s shares.

Menora and Clal will be entitled to raise their stake to 10% each following regulatory nod.

Warburg Pincus head of Europe and member of the executive management group Daniel Zilberman said: Leumi Card is an excellent business that we hope to bring our global expertise to, and help build a true leader and innovator in the Israeli payments, and consumer and SME lending sectors.

“We strongly believe in the full implementation of the Strum reform and admire the decision to open up competition and stimulate investment from outside the country. I am confident that our investment in Leumi Card will be of great benefit to the Company’s customers and the State of Israel as a whole.”

The deal, valued at ILS2.5bn ($691.1m), was first announced last July.

It forms part of the Israeli government’s plan to increase competition in the country’s banking sector.

As part of this plan, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi were directed to sell their credit card units by 2020.

Bank Leumi had an 80% interest in the card business while the remainder was owned by Azrieli Group.

Leumi Card CEO Ron Fainaroadded: “We are the first credit card company in Israel to embark on a new and independent journey. We are prepared and ready to implement our strategic plans, and intend to expand our lendingbusiness for individuals and businesses and to invest in new growth areas.

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