Category: Business

Teva Pharmaceutical goes bargain hunting, picks up Barr Pharmaceuticals for $7.46b

Posted on July 22, 2008 | Comments Off

Teva Pharmaceuticals Logo

According to Haaretz,  Teva has been going on a “little” shopping spree, buying companies as if they were cute pairs of shoes they just had to have. (And FYI, this Teva company has no connection to the Israeli hikers’ beloved Teva sandal co., incidentally made in China.) Recently, Teva purchased Barr Pharmaceuticals, “the fourth largest generic firm in the U.S., for $7.46 billion.” Teva had previously bought “Ivax in January 2006 for $7.4 billion and Sicor in October 2003 for $3.4 billion.” Even though Teva is already the world’s biggest generic drug maker, maxing out its credit cards on all these ‘steals’ will elevate Teva to a “generic powerhouse employing about 37,000 people globally and operating directly in more than 60 countries.”

The big reversal

A quick look at Globes or Techcrunch, will leave you numb from repetitive headlines such as “Company X acquires Company Y for Z million dollars”. However, if these headlines refer to Israel, it’s usually because an American company is buying out an Israeli hi-tech startup. Just search for “Microsoft buys Israeli startup” in Google and you’ll see what I mean. Here’s a few examples of startups Microsoft has bought lately:

But Teva’s takeover has turned the tables proving that an Israeli company can buy out a huge US company. And, at 7.46b, it’s mighty impressive!

Tourism in Israel is growing fast with big plans for even bigger numbers

Posted on May 28, 2008 | Comments Off

Not only is Israel breaking Guiness World Records for largest amount of people saying Hatikvah simultaneously, largest national flag, and the World’s largest Humus plate, we also keep breaking previous tourist records. According to the Ministry of Tourism, in April of 2008 alone, there were 290,000 tourists, a 41% increase over April 2007 and 26% over April 2006.

But the Ministry of Tourism has set its goals much, much higher, hoping to bring 5 million tourists in 2012. The Director of Tourism Shaul Tzemach is already nervous about a room shortage. As they say, that should be our worst problem! Anyone want to rent out their apartment for a few days? I volunteer. Tourists usually mean m-o-n-e-y. I say, bring it.


You know what this major increase in tourism will mean for Israel, don’t you? More hotels which means more construction! And Israelis just love construction and detours. There are 90 million shekels going towards encouraging tourism and millions more for the construction of more hotels in Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee area, Acre, Ashdod, Kiryat Shmona and the Upper Galilee. That brings the total cost to 1 billion shekels. The number feels too big to comprehend and reminds me of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil suggesting the largest amount he could fathom “1 milllliion dollars”.

Cisco CEO John Chambers speaks highly of Israel

Posted on February 7, 2008 | Comments Off

ciscoJohn Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, likes Israel. He even said so at President Simon Peres’ special-invite-only business dinner with Israel’s hi-tech leaders.

“Venture capital is not about money, it’s about expertise,” he said, referring to Israel’s strength as an innovator.
“We’re deeply committed to Israel and intend to expand,” Chambers said adding that he was “very satisfied” with his company’s activities in Israel.

Cisco Systems Inc (Nasdaq: CSCO) with a market capital of $145 billion, is the world’s premier networking company and is responsible for many innovations, particularly in the world of Web 2.0. Cisco has acquired nine Israeli companies, and it seems he may be doing some shopping on this trip as well:

“I’m going to continue to acquire companies here,” Chambers said, noting Cisco has bought more companies in Israel than in any other location other than the United States. “I think you are going to continue to see us being very proactive in this country. We see a lot of innovation occurring here across everything.”

Chambers has been pretty busy during his trip in Israel. In addition to the dinner, he has unveiled two community projects (with a total investment of 2.5 million dollars) which use technology to advance the peace process and help underprivileged youth.

Israel first neighbouring country to join EU competitiveness program

Posted on November 11, 2007 | Comments Off

fond_gauche_cip.jpgIsrael is the first neighbouring country to join the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP). This program promotes innovation, entrepreneurship and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.

According to eurofundingMag, “The participation of Israel in community programmes is an important step in the process of progressive economic integration between Israel and the EU in the framework of the ENP.” It seems like Israel plans on being a pretty active participant in this program, having already joined one pillar in the program, and expressing interest joining the other two pillars.

Israel has been involved in other EU innovation-related programs, such as the “Research and innovation” program of the sixth Framework Program.

Excellent interview with Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer

Posted on November 4, 2007 | Comments Off

Stanley FischerThe Council on Foreign Relations recently posted a video of an interview with Stanley Fischer, the Governor of the Bank of Israel. He is interviewed by Jacob Frenkel, a former Governor.

The interview is really interesting (if you find this kind of thing interesting). Fischer gives a perspective on the Israeli economy that you won’t get in the media or elsewhere, such as how poverty is measured, how Israel has managed to cut government spending, and how taxes will be reduced to 44% in total by 2010! I’m hoping that includes Bituach Leumi (social insurance). Read more»

Samsung makes first acquisition in over 10 years – and it’s Israeli

Posted on November 2, 2007 | 1 Comment

SamsungSamsung Electronics hasn’t bought a company since April 1997. Until this past Wednesday, that is, when the company acquired Tel Aviv-based TransChip Israel Ltd., reportedly for $70m. (If you try to visit, you are redirected to a page on Samsung’s site about imaging solutions.)

TransChip was founded in 1999, and specialises in designing, developing, and marketing image sensors used in digital cameras — complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensors. Read more»

Second Israel Web Tour, February 2008

Posted on October 29, 2007 | Comments Off

The second Israel Web Tour is scheduled for February 4-7, 2008 in Silicon Valley and will bring 15 of Israel’s hottest startups to present, mingle, and find investment. The event is organized by the CICC – California Israel Chamber of Commerce in an effort to  “advance Israeli companies and Israeli technology”.  Last year’s Israel Web Tour was hosted by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and featured startups Yedda, beinsync, SkyLow, Gizmoz, Fixya, FoxyTunes, RadarSync, ILCU, SpearCast, TrustedOpinion, Interating, Kasamba, ViewScore , MyHeritage.  Looking forward to finding out who’ll be there this year.

Here’s a little taste of last year’s event:


Goldman Sachs to invest $100m in Israeli Mobileye

Posted on October 21, 2007 | Comments Off

CarThe deals involving Israeli companies keep getting better and better, this time with Goldman Sachs agreeing to invest $100m in Israeli company Mobileye at a valuation of $600m.

Mobileye develops systems aimed at preventing traffic accidents by detecting the distance between vehicles, and providing warnings in dangerous situations. Apparently their solution costs less and allows consolidation of multiple applications on a single platform. Mobileye is scheduled to provide its technology in six production platforms in 2007 (start of production) with BMW, GM and Volvo.

Mobileye’s R&D center is in Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim hi-tech park, and they have been picked as a Top 100 Private Company in Europe, and Top 100 Innovator by Red Herring.

Did the people behind Mobileye gain their inspiration by watching their fellow Israelis drive? If so, at least something positive has come out of the Israeli driving methodology (honk, wave hands vigorously, put on blinker after changing lanes, etc.).

Israeli TV startup RayV raises $8m

Posted on October 14, 2007 | 2 Comments

RayTVAnother funding success story: Israeli Virtual TV Network company RayV has just raised $8m. According to alarm:clock, the company is in stealth mode, and offers a new way for “consumers to find, review, and talk about local businesses. A cross between a web-based social community and an online business directory, RAYV is where people go to express their opinions on any type of local business and get recommendations from a trusted source – their peers.”

Israel seems to be pretty strong in the Internet TV arena, with some leading companies like BlogTV, Metacafe, and 5min.

If you know of any other Israeli Internet TV companies, please add them to the comments below. partners with WordPress with new Plugin

Posted on October 14, 2007 | Comments Off, an Israeli company publicly traded on the NASDAQ, has partnered with the guys behind WordPress to integrate’s service with WordPress blogs. The company has developed a plugin for users of the free, downloadable platform, and is providing an integrated service on blogs.

Answers is a free online service that provides definitions and encyclopedic-entries on millions of topics. Their new plugin will add a button to the toolbar that, when clicked, creates an automatic link from a word to its entry on Here’s the explanation from the press release: Read more»

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