Billionaire Arcady Gaydamak purchased controlling shares of the Tiv Taam supermarket chain from owners Amit Berger and Kobi Tribitch, less than two weeks after they denied rumors of an impending takeover.
Gaydamak will purchase 25.5 percent of the company shares from Enter Holdings - owned by Berger, and the same amount of shares from Tribitch (for a total of 51 percent), at a price of $100 million.
Following the deal, Enter Holdings will remain with 13 percent of the company's share and Tribitch will hold 12 percent.
The deal marks the fourth significant purchase by Gaydamak of an Israeli company in the recent months. But the supermarket chain deal – which follows April acquisitions of a real estate company, an investment firm and a convenience store and gas station retailer – has far larger implications than his previous buys.
Gaydamak declared his intention to change the nature of the store by banning the sale of non-kosher meats, closing all stores on Shabbat and opening new branches in Jerusalem.
Such a move would remove the supermarket chain from its signature niche as the largest non-kosher store in Israel. Currently, it is the largest producer and supplier in Israel of non-kosher meats and is open all days of the year except Yom Kippur.
"In my view, as a Jew and as a public figure in Jewish society, the promotion, distribution and sale of pork products in Israel offends the Jewish tradition. Therefore, my first order of business will be to ban the distribution and sale of pork products," the billionaire explainde to Yedioth Aharonoth in an interview.
Sources have posited that the decision was a motivated by a desire to boost his popularity in the event that he decides to run for mayor of Jerusalem, as he has indicated an interest in doing.
Gaydamak, however, stated his certainty in the wisdom of this business move. "I predict that the chain will increase its commercial performance dramatically in the near future," he said.
Tani Goldstein contributed to this report