Mivtach in talks with Bright Food on cooperating in Tnuva

TEL AVIV Sun May 25, 2014 4:52am EDT

TEL AVIV May 25 (Reuters) - Israeli investment group Mivtach Shamir Holdings is in talks with China's Bright Food Group Co on cooperating in the future as co-owners of Tnuva, Israel's biggest food company.

Last week state-owned Bright Food struck a deal to buy 56 percent of Tnuva from British private equity house Apax Partners in a deal that values the Israeli dairy company at $2.5 billion.

Mivtach, which owns 21 percent of Tnuva, said on Sunday it has two months to inform Bright Food whether it is staying in Tnuva or selling.

Mivtach has a "tag-along" option to sell its Tnuva holding to Bright Food in accordance with the terms of the Apax sale. In the two months given to it to exercise this option, Mivtach and Bright Food will seek to settle matters connected to cooperation between them as owners of Tnuva.

If the negotiations result in agreement, Mivtach will not sell its holding, and will remain in Tnuva.

A group of kibbutzim, or cooperative farms, own the rest of Tnuva.

"The intention of the parties ... is to work together, and together with the kibbutzim that also hold rights in Tnuva, and to collaborate in the Israeli, Chinese and other international markets in the dairy products and other agricultural sectors," Mivtach said in a statement. (Reporting by Tova Cohen, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch)