Delek Group in deal to sell control of insurer Phoenix to Kushner

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli conglomerate Delek Group signed a memorandum of understanding to sell a controlling 47 percent stake in Israeli insurer Phoenix Holdings for nearly 1.7 billion shekels ($498 million) to New York-based Kushner Group.

The agreement, which is non-binding, is subject to completion of due diligence and the signing of a binding accord, which will be conditioned on receipt of regulatory approval, Delek said in a statement on Sunday.

The deal values all of Phoenix at 3.6 billion shekels, the Kushner Group said in a separate statement. Phoenix has a market value of nearly 3.2 billion shekels.

The Kushner Group, headed by Jared Kushner, is focused on real estate, insurance, media and banking. It owns Observer Media, which includes the New York Observer.

“We have confidence in the Israeli economy and its growth potential,” said Kushner, who is married to Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. “Israel’s economy is open, transparent and competitive.”

Delek, which owns stakes in the giant Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, has been seeking to divest its financial holdings.

Last month it agreed to sell its 46.6 percent stake in investment group Barak Capital for 237 million shekels and a 36 percent stake in its U.S. insurance business Republic Group for $80 million

Reporting by Tova Cohen