While struggling to turn around an expanding (5%) budget deficit, Israel sustains its unique role as a pipeline of commercial, defense and homeland security technologies to the US and the Free World. Israeli technologies, shared with the US industry, have enhanced the US employment, research & development and exports.
1. Facebook about to acquire Israel’s Waze for $1BN. In January, Waze turned down Facebook’s offer of $500MN (Israel Hayom, May 10, 2013). Warren Buffett completed acquisition of Israel’s Iscar – $2BN for the remaining 20% of Iscar. $4BN were paid for 80% (Globes, May 1). NYC’s KKR Private Equity acquired (from NYC’s Warburg-Pincus Ventures) 75% of Israel’s Alliance Tires Group for $500MN (Globes, April 15). Israel’s Prolor was merged into Miami, FL’s Opko for $480MN (Globes, April 25). San Jose, CA’s Avago Technologies acquired Israel’s Cyoptics for $400MN (Globes, April 12). China’s Fosun Pharma acquired Israel’s Alma Lasers for $240MN (TechTime, April 29). J.P. Morgan sold 21% of Israel’s CaesarStone (held by Israel’s Tene’ Investment Fund) for $170MN, on NASDAQ (Globes, April 15).
2. Japan’s Sony extends its medical tech investments, investing $10MN in Israel’s Rainbow Medical investment fund, joining prior giant investors: Minnesota’s Medtronic, Illinois’ Abbott and Italy’s Sorin. Sonny is seeking Israeli acquisitions. Israel is a research & development hub for GE Healthcare, Phillips, Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific and Switzerland’s Roche, which have acquired Israeli companies and have invested in scores of Israeli start-ups (Globes, May 9). GE inaugurated a software research & development center in Israel (May 1).
3. London’s Amadeus Capital led a $17MN round of private placement by Israel’s ClickTale (Globes, May 1). Israel’s Micronet Enertec raised $8MN on NASDAQ (May 6). Waltham, MA’s Battery Ventures participated in a $6MN first round of private placement by Israel’s FTBpro (Globes, May 9).
4. The scope of Leviathan’s offshore proven natural gas reserves is larger (19 Trillion Cubic Feet) than expected (17 TCF), according to Yedioth Achronot, May 2).
5. Israel’s unemployment decrease to 6.5%, during the first quarter in 2013, derives from increased integration – by Arabs and ultra-orthodox Jews – into the job market. The average unemployment rate is 10.9% in the EU, 12.1% in the Euro Bloc and 25% among the youth of the Euro Bloc.
6. “In January, Intel executive Greg Slater noted that many of his company’s major innovations over the past three decades started in Israel—including the latest ‘Ivy Bridge’ and ‘Sandy Bridge’ microprocessors, which accounted for 40% of Intel revenues in 2011…. Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates said in 2006 that ‘the innovation going on in Israel is critical to the future of the technology business….’ Scores of major U.S. manufacturers—from General Electric GE to General Motors, GM, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Apple and others—have R&D centers and technology incubators in Israel…. Israel [contributes] to the U.S. economy thousands of skilled professionals, hundreds of joint patent applications, and hundreds of coauthored scientific and technical papers…. (Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2013).”