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Monday, June 11, 2007

Major downsizing at NDS

NDS Israel has laid off an estimated 50 employees, many of them long-time supervisors at the Rupert Murdoch's R&D center in Jerusalem. Word has it that the drastic cutbacks were demanded by CEO Abe Peled, who felt that a great deal of fat could be trimmed by eliminating a sizeable chunk of the company's veteran management-level personnel.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dropping like flies

Yet another senior (Israeli) SAP executive (and former TopTier member) is leaving SAP. This time it is Aliza Peleg, SAP Labs Manager in the U.S.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Overpriced, Overpayed, Overvalued

A European citizen has paid a whopping $25,000/sq. meter for a total of USD $9,000,000 to own an apartment in the Jerusalem ghost town of Mamilla.

The Mamilla project is currently being expanded by another 38 apartments due to the demand by American and European holiday visitors for a home in that neighborhood.

The Mamilla complex is generally empty for most of the year as home owners only vist for a week or two during the various holiday seasons - when they don't stay at a hotel instead.

Asking/Selling prices in the existing Mamilla complex are known to have reached only as high as USD $10,000/sq. meter (though rumor has it one homeowner is asking as high as $15,000).

Talk about being taken.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Flowing in California

Given Imaging is really going with the flow.

California Medicare has approved the Pillcam SB for diagnosing Crohn's and other diseases.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bank HaPoalim lowers rating on Africa-Israel

Bank HaPoalim has lowered their rating on Africa-Israel.

It should be noted that Leviev purchased Africa-Israel from Bank Leumi in the 90s, and Bank Leumi purchased (via option) 5% of Africa-Israel Investments in 2006.

Following the Lead

Udi Ziv, Shai Agassi's (former) associate at SAP (and cofounder with Agassi of TopTier - purchased by SAP) will be following Agassi's lead and will also be leaving SAP.

Following the Lead

Udi Ziv, Shai Agassi's (former) associate at SAP (and cofounder with Agassi of TopTier - purchased by SAP) will be following Agassi's lead and will also be leaving SAP.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cancel the Gym Membership

Ultrashape just received approval to sell their fat melting system in Canada. They are waiting for US FDA approval so they can go to an IPO in the US.

I guess really you can cancel your gym membership and just watch those extra pounds melt away.

One Night in Bangkok

Africa-Israel is buying a Bangkok residential high-rise (nearing completion) for some $50 million dollars.

Here's a first

Malam is installing Microsoft's CRM package (Microsoft Dynamics) in Comverse. We're sure that (using MS DSynamics) has to be a first for Israel.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Groisa Metzia

Lev Leviav, mentioned earlier this week after his purchase of the New York Times building, just completed a $1.4 Billion dollar IPO making his company Africa-Israel the 5th largest real estate firm in Europe.

The company is now valued at $7.3 Billion dollars.

It was also the largest ever IPO by an Israeli company.

Leviev initially purchased Africa-Israel for just somewhere in the range of $250-$500 million.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

How NICE for the FAA

The FAA has just closed an IDIQ based contract with NICS systems (7 years, $69 Million). The FAA has applied so far 2.7 million.

Say "Yes"

Yes has selected BMC to be it's new monitoring system which will be installed by Matrix. Interesting choice. Definitely a nice coup for Avner Mimon of Matrix (a name to watch for in the future).

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Count this

Nielsen will be completing its acquisition of BuzzMetrics by the end of May for an estimated $100 Million.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Retalix on the final stretch

Back in March we mentioned the rumors that Retalix may be sold, and some other big deals they were doing.

Retalix's rival Radiant Systems is considering the buy (for over $500 million), but remember, this isn't the first time that Retalix has been in talks that fell through.

Perhaps this time they'll cross the finish line.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Radware's Warchest

Radware just purchased Covelight Systems for $16 million. Radware has a warchest of $163 million in cash for their acquisition plans to strengthen its position in the enterprise market.

It runs in the family

Reuters Group has purchased Israeli startup ClearForest for $30 million. ClearForest developed text analysis software. The company's founder and CTO is Dr Yonatan Aumann, son of Nobel prize winner Prof. Israel Aumann

All the News...

Lev Leviav's Africa-Israel just purchased the New York Times Building for $525 million. This July, the New York Times will be evacuating that building and moving to the New New York Times Building.

Moving Out

Going to the IT trade shows, one usually sees an Ultra-Orthodox gentleman incongruously being heavily courted by the IT elites.

That was Atzmon Mins who, after 6 years, just stepped as CTO of Amidar.

Before Amidar, Mins was VP Technology at DHL, and before that a manager at Visa and Amdocs.

Amidar is a government company that supplies low-income housing.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Smooth as a baby's bottom...

Alma Laser just won FDA approval for their laser anti-wrinkle treatment. Alma Lasers have been in a number of lawsuits and countersuits with their competitors over the last year. Some were won, and some were settled and resulted in licensing agreements.

Delek Drills Deep

Delek just purchased 25% of a North Sea Oil concession.

Not tonight honey

Teva is investing NIS 1.5 million to launch Acamol Focus - their version of Excedrin Migraine.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Word on the $treet

Will the Bank of Israel openly intervene by next week to prevent the shekel from rising further (or the dollar dropping)? Will they start selling Shekels?

Wait and see.

Electric going mobile

LX Mobile sold a system for reading the thousands of Smart Meters the Israel Electric Company has installed - including 400 mobile PDAs from Psion Teklogix for reading the meters remotely . Altogether, a deal valued at a few hundred thousand dollars.

Matrix is really Hungry

Matrix just bought 60% of Tangram-Soft for over NIS 15 million, plus another few million they will be investing in the company.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Big in Israel

Jacky Ben-Zaken and Avraham Nanikashvilli bought the Kanyon Hasharon (Mall) for NIS 344 million. The deal was mediated by Roni Maanah - Israel's latest commercial property wunderkind. Roni did some big deals recently with Arkadi Gedaymak and Yeshayahu Boymelgreen.

Small in Japan

Given Imaging has won approval to sell their PillCam (Small Bowel) capsules in Japan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vote - JIBS

If you enjoy reading DigitalIsrael...if you find our information interesting...if you found our posts useful...if you want to show your support...

Please vote for DigitalIsrael in the JIBS (Jewish-Israeli Blog Awards) in the following 2 categories.

Best News/Current Events Blog

Best of the Rest Blog

Thank you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Paz Gas

Paz is building a private $60 million, 43 Watt power station in Ashdod - run on Natural Gas (purchased from Delek).

Friday, April 20, 2007

Doing Tshuva

It's to early in the season to be doing Tshuva, but Itsik just sold 16,000 apartments in Canada, raking in a cool $2 Billion dollars.

Shari Arison sure does like her bank

Shari has bought another $40 million in shares of Bank Hapoalim, upping her ownership to just over 20%. She already owned controlling interest.

Word on the $treet

Stanley Fischer (Govenor of the Bank of Israel) is calling for the public to write in and present their arguments as to how and when to cancel publishing representative foreign exchange rates.

Fisher really believes in invisible hands and free market forces - even after his little intervention correction last week.

If the Bank of Israel doesn't do it, someone else will. Certainly without the Bank of Israel's "correction", last week's slide may have reached thr 3.96 level.

Good for him.

HP widens their market

HP will now begin selling their (Pavilion) Desktop PCs to the general Israeli market.

So much bandwidth...

Cellcom has bandwidth to spare. Cellcom is offering a new service that will connect the video from any (Edge) 2.75G cellphone to your PC (via their website) for free.

Certainly better than a shopping network.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Low Emmisions at Datasafe

Datasafe just completed migrating all 250 of its fleet of cars from benzene to a liquid gas combination through the company J GAZ.
They expect it to increase engine efficiency while reducing damage to the environment.
They'll need to change the color of their logo to green.

Winning the Lotto

HP & Matrix won the Miphal Hapayis (Lotto) tender to supply computers to educational institutions (schools) countrywide at a deal that can reach up to NIS 90 Million.



Malam will be installing SAP at Gilat Satellite worldwide in a project valued at NIS 20 million. Malam beat out Ness (SAP distributer) who also answered the tender with SAP.

IBM is installing SAP at Yafora (drink company). Price unknown.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Social Devolution

You know, sometimes in all the excitement of major announcement one forgets to mention the small details.

While Bituach Leumi management is planning to issue their (r)evolutionry tender to downsize off the mainframe, there is one little hitch in their plans.

It’s called the Bituach Leumi Worker’s Committee (Va'ad HaOvdim).

Bituach Leumi has been negotiating for 3 years (unsuccessfully) to change certain aspects of their agreement with the workers. This plan would affect the majority of the IT workers who group up on the Bituach Leumi mainframe and know nothing else.

It would be an understatement to say that after 3 years of negotiating the Va'ad and Bituach Leumi haven’t found common ground on the downsizing (among other things) - they aren’t even playing in the same universe.

Keep watching this space, but don’t hold your breath.

Aman buys again

Aman Computer (or is it Aman-SCP, or is PAmam now) continues to buy up other small Israeli companies for their products and services. They've had a very mixed bag of results from this philosophy, but they're clearly growing (both in Israel and internationally), so they must be doing something right.

AMD opens in Israel

AMD is opening in Israel. Not a research or development facility like Intel, but rather a sales and marketing facility. The purpose - to help companies and organizations decide to use AMD chips - such as for answering government tenders.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

So that explains all the spam

Normally, automated emails from El Al go right into my Junk folder and soon after erased. I'm going to have to pay more attention from now on.

El Al openly distributed the emails of all their Gold/Platinum members in their Pre-Pesach email.

That explains the severe increase in spam coming from Israeli spam "companies" like Pelican in Matan and Ostitan in Tel Aviv.

Microsoft hiring

Microsoft is looking to hire 150 programmers for their new development center opening in Herzilia Pituach.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Social (R)evolution

If this happens, this will be the one of the largest projects in Israel. The ramifications are enormous.

They've talked about it for years. They've instituted bits and pieces over time, but now it appears to be true.

Bituach Leumi (Social Security) has announced they will be issuing a tender to replace their mainframe and all its embedded software with newer, more open systems and packages. (Just two years ago, at Bituach Leumi’s request, some members of DigitalIsrael quietly wrote up a study of one possible alternative, the internal ramifications of such a project, and how it should be safely implemented.)

Currently all of Bituach Leumi's major financial transactions are done on, or stored on the mainframe.

This will clearly be a serious blow for IBM Israel (if they don't win the tender) as Bituach Leumi currently pays IBM the majority of the Mainframe license fees for all of their mainframes (and mainframe upgrades) and software such as MVS, DB2, CICS, etc - And we are talking serious million$.

Bituach Leumi has been looking into alternatives to the mainframe for years.

A project of this magnitude will provide jobs and projects for decades for whichever consortium of companies wins this prize.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Keep the Roads Rolling

Solel Boneh has won a BOT project with Guatemala to build them a road. For $672 million dollars. Not bad.


b-Bet you thought it was about Bezeq (again).

Nope. After shoving unwanted video ads down the message pipes of Cellcom users, Cellcom is now pushing bCellcom – their shopping network. Gee thanks.

Meanwhile, Cellcom is sitting on a goldmine it is completely ignoring – the AirCard line of products and concept.

AirCard allows Cellcom to provide truly wireless highspeed internet wherever you are (the other providers provide wireless too, but apparently nowhere near as fast).

b-But where is the desktop router? Where is the (Sierra) USB Aircard Modem?

(b)Cellcom could directly be taking on Bezeq in the ADSL/ISP market head to head, but instead they are only providing a repackaged Sierra PCMCIA AirCards, which if you were to use it like you surf with Bezeq it would cost you a lot more at Cellcom’s prices.

So instead they are offering us yet another shopping network (perhaps their wireless network isn’t up for the challenge?).


Friday, April 13, 2007

Word on the $treet

Did the Bank of Israel quietly (secretly) intervene with dollar/shekel trading today (despite Stanley saying he wouldn't)?

Bank of Israel listed the dollar as not dropping below 4.066, though actual bank trading certainly happened below that number.

Was it a "correction" or an "intervention"?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Aladdin's Buys the Lampshop

Aladdin is cash heavy and now it's buyback time.

Word on the $treet

Word on the $treet is that the dollar will fall to NIS 3.96.
As of this post the dollar has already fallen below 4.1.

Ness, SAP, and the Municipalities

Ness (local distributor of SAP) signed an agreement with LADPC (which supplies computing services to a large number of municipalities in Israel) in which LAPDC will install SAP in the municipalities they handle.

Cheap Labor

Matrix purchased controlling interest in the Bulgarian outsourcing company owned by Unicoders for 2 million dollars, getting in return 150 new employees. Matrix made the purchase through their subsidiary Net-Shore.

Of course the Bulgarian company was actually formed by 2 Israelis.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stanley Fisher on Problem Solving

"Problems aren’t solved in Israel until they reach crisis dimensions, and that’s a pity."

Comverse finds its head

After 5 months without a leader, Comverse has finally appointed a new CEO (Andre Dahan).

Comverse lost it's previous CEO (and founder) after he ran away to Africa to avoid being arrested for backdating the company's stock options (as apparently did other Comverse execs).

One1 wins Delek ERP project

One1 won a project to Install at Delek an Oracle ERP system for NIS 10M.

Alon is a Afloat

Alon USA shares have jumped big time recently, just ahead of Alon Israel's upcoming IPO.

Furthermore, Alon USA just won a contract to supply fuel to the US Army ($138 Million). Delek also won a part of that contract for $38 Million.

Basil-2 to strike Israel

By 2009 Israeli banks will be required to institute Basil-2. Basil-2 will affect how (and how much) the banks offer credit. We'll see if that goes through on time - or at all.

Aladdin makes a wish

Aladdin announced that it is supplying its eSafe and eToken solution to an Indian educational consortium for a sum in the area of $50,000,000. Talk about rubbing the right lamp.

Retalix wins again

185 7-Eleven stores in Sweden and Norway have installed Retalix's Storepoint POS software. Retalix first entered the 7-Eleven chain some 4 years ago in the US. The US based 7-Eleven stores are owned by Alon USA (a subsidiary of Alon Israel Oil Co. LTD).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Shekel on the Move

Shekel keeps rising (or the dollar keeps falling depending on your perspective) over the Passover holiday.

Teva to hire

After receiving US FDA approval on its new plant in Har Hotzvim (Jerusalem Technology Park) Teva will be hiring an additional 200 employees (beyond the 300 already working in the current Jerusalem facility.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Twisting in the Wind

It was just announced that Bank Discount won the Civil Servants Banking Tender.

Bank Mizrachi-Tfachot just purchased Bank Yahav (for some $237 million dollars), which until today held the monopoly on the service. Presumably they bought it under the assumption they would either win the tender or sidestep it.

Bank Discount will now be offering the 140,000 Israeli civil servants zero-fee banking services, something the rest of the country is not privileged to have.

After Pesach

Call up anybody to do business these past few days, and you find out that all business has stopped until "after Pesach"... same with this blog (probably).

Enjoy the holiday.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hope IBM does it better this time around

IBM will be upgrading the computers Israeli Post Office, something that hasn't been done in a long time. The cost for the project is said to be in the range of NIS 13 million.

IBM will be installing SAP, presumably on the Post Office's mainframe.

Hopefully IBM will have more success this time around than they did with their white elephant at Mamram. While they got a huge hardware sale out of that deal, it is considered by some insiders to be a "less than efficient" SAP and OS implementation.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Talk about convoluted

Aeronautics is a defense company that makes UAVs and airborne based surveillance cameras.

Aeronautics was purchased by Avi Shaked for his children who want to get into the other family business (not gambling).

But who in the world did he actually buy it from?

Talk about convoluted

Aeronautics is a defense company that makes UAVs and airborne based surveillance cameras.

Aeronautics was purchased by Avi Shaked for his children who want to get into the other family business (not gambling).

But who in the world did he actually buy it from?

Bye Bye Bezeq

Bezeq's CEO is going on a 2 week vacation while his fate is decided by the board. While he's away the board will be busy looking at ways of covering their own behinds after their rather lax oversight of some of his major questionable decisions. Now that Bezeq is privatized, they are actually answerable to someone for their failure to safeguard the shareholders.

Keep watching this spot for details (probably after the Passover holiday).

No-fee Transactions - Perks or a Right

The Mizarchi-Tfachot takeover of Bank Yahav (the government retains partial ownership) had/has some interesting side deals going on, such as an attempt sidestep a tender regarding loans to civil servants.

The Histadrut is running yet another general strike today (of all government services) because the government is refusing to alter the terms of the Bank Yahav tender.

Currently, civil servants don't pay bank fees at Bank Yahav and can get cheap loans. This tender may end those perks.

The costs of these loans and transactions are covered by taxes.

Of course it raises questions. Why should civil servant lose no-fee transactions, as opposed to all Israelis gaining the option of no-fee transactions? Why can't the banks cover operational costs like other banks around the world?

Agassi exits early - won't go to finals

Shai Agassi, once considered to be in line to be CEO of SAP, is leaving to explore private ventures in the alternative energy sectors. Rumor has it Agassi is looking into electric cars.

Shai (39) may have thought the timetable for his becoming CEO was too far in the future.

SAP was in the news this week for other reasons. It is now defending itself against an Oracle lawsuit which is claiming some serious corporate espionage charges on the part of SAP.

Living off the Pork

While women make up the majority of civil servant and public sector jobs, the government has reported that their average salary compared to their male counterparts is less (by some 30%).

There is still no reason to complain though, as the average female or male civil servant/public sector salary (except, of course for teachers) is still above the national average compared to the private working stiff.

As an aside, 25% of the country is said to live at poverty levels.

Bank Robbery

Last year, the top 5 Israeli banks grossed over NIS 10 Billion from... bank fees (a 6% increase over the year before).

Their overall net from all sources was over NIS 8 Billion (a 38% increase from the previous year).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Shakeup at Bezeq

The government isn't the only place where questionable activities occur.

A big shakeup happening at Bezeq. The Bezeq board is examining the activities of their CEO Yakov Gelbard, some deals he made and a bonus scandal. A secret midnight meeting was held to discuss his fate.

Retalix in the Running

Despite or amidst the constant rumors that Retalix is going to be sold, British Petroleum signed a contract to license their retail management software for tens of thousands of gas stations and restaurants in 18 countries.

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Here is list of some hi-tech CEOs and their salaries.

Name ............Title.................~Annual Salary USD
Moty Gutman........CEO Matrix..........$1,030,000
Yossi Savir.....CEO Malam Subsidiary..... $778,000

Amos Shapira.....CEO Cellcom.....$614,000
Ravit Barniv.....CEO Netvision.....$473,000
Doron Sapir.....CEO Taldor.....$504,000
Levi HaLevi.....CEO Malam.....$400,000
Gidon Kimchi.....CEO TesNet.....$392,000
Dov Paer .....CEO Babylon.....$316,000
Benny Rothblatt.....CEO Taldor subsidiary.....$292,000
Yigal Geser.....VP Netvision.....$240,000

Isracard examining the future

The Isracard credit card company (which Bank HaPolaim is selling off part of it shares in) is running a pilot program at the Herziliya Interdisciplinary Center campus, allowing students and faculty to make purchases with a smart card/disk-on-key instead of a credit card.

Microsoft Trumps Google in .Gov.il

Once again, the Israeli government is pushing for Microsoft solutions before and ahead of all other alternative providers - no matter how qualified or appropriate.

This time the government has chosen Microsoft over Google to supply the .gov.il site with search engine capabilities!

What dah...?

Mizrachi-Tfachot Gaining Ground

Bank Mizrachi is working hard to position themselves as a serious lender in the Israeli market.

It began with their purchase of Bank Tfachot, for their mortgage department. Now they are going to acquire 50% of Bank Yahav from Bank Hapoalim- hoping to acquire a government tender to supply loans to civil servants.

Bank Yahav is a widely used bank for civil servants.