Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Told you so! Israel to get 2nd free daily

Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson (pictured) has broken off talks to buy Israel's Ma'ariv, a Hebrew paid daily, and plans to open that country's second free daily, Israel Today, in two weeks.

Adelson's new paper is now hiring. Amos Regev will be the editor and Asher Baharav will manage it. Both men held the equivalent positions at the country's first free daily, Israeli, which was jointly owned by Adelson and Shlomo Ben-Tzvi. That partnership is now in the courts — with Adelson being locked out of the paper's management. "Israeli" continues to publish.

This blog, free-daily.com, reported back on April 11 that Adelson was looking to start his own free daily after the "Israeli" partnership dispute shut him out of any control of that paper.

According to Forbes Magazine, Adelson is the 14th richest person in the world and the third richest in the United States with a net worth estimated at $20.5 billion. He is a real estate developer and heads Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates casinos.

Reporter Yael Gaoni of Israel's Globes Online, a business publication, reported today that talks broke off between Adelson and Ma'ariv owner Ofer Nimrodi. Adelson offered $125 million for "Ma'ariv" and Nimrodi wanted $180 million, according to Gaoni.

Four hours later, Haaretz.com posted a report by reporter Yael Walzer that quoted Adelson's spokesman as saying the Vegas billionaire never offered to buy Ma'ariv for $250 million. Walzer's report suggested Adelson's bid, after looking at Ma'ariv's books, was $105 million, and that Nimrodi's final demand was $170 million.