Israel regulator okays defence firm Elbit's bid to buy IMI

TEL AVIV, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Israel’s anti-trust regulator on Sunday approved defence contractor Elbit Systems’ planned acquisition of state-owned rival IMI Systems.

Elbit said in June it would buy IMI for up to $522 million and completion of the deal was pending approval from the Israel Antitrust Authority.

“An examination of the merger found that it does not raise a reasonable risk of significant damage to competition,” the authority said in a statement.

“In particular, it was found that the overlap between the activities of Elbit and IMI is relatively marginal, and that in the overlapping areas there is competition from suppliers in Israel or abroad.”

The government announced in 2013 its intention to privatise IMI, a manufacturer of military systems best known for being an early maker of the Uzi submachine gun. Elbit was the last remaining bidder among five that had shown interest

Elbit said it will pay up front about $495 million, with an additional payment of approximately $27 million contingent upon IMI meeting certain performance goals. (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer)