Israel Shakes Up Its Banking Sector

The Israeli government hopes to get out of the banking business by yearend. On Sept. 13, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert announced he was putting 10% of Bank Leumi and an option for a further 10% on the block. The 20% stake will give the buyer control over Israel's No. 2 bank, with the right to appoint a majority of the board. The stake is worth more than $900 million at current market prices. Finance Ministry sources say groups from the U.S., Britain, and Israel are interested.

Edited by Rose Brady

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