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Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman and wife Neri Oxman buy nearly 5% stake in Israeli stock exchange

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Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman and his wife Neri Oxman are buying a nearly 5% stake in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the exchange reported in a press release Wednesday.

The announcement came as the Israeli bourse announced the pricing of a secondary offering of 17,156,677 shares, or 18.5% of its market value, priced at 20.60 shekels ($5.50) per share, putting Ackman and his wife’s purchase at $17.3 million.

“The transaction drew robust interest from investors across Israel, the United States, Europe, and Australia, reflecting a strong vote of confidence in both the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the Israeli economy at large,” the statement read. 

“Among the prominent buyers were Neri Oxman and Bill Ackman who have agreed to purchase approximately a 4.9% equity stake in the TASE.” The exchange plans “to use the net proceeds from this offering for investment in its technology infrastructure,” it added.

Ackman, the CEO and founder of New York-based Pershing Square Capital Management, has been a vocal supporter of Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on the country that triggered an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. His wife, Neri Oxman, is an American-Israeli architectural designer and professor.

The purchase is Ackman’s first investment in Israel since the war began, according to reporting by Bloomberg. Ackman, who is Jewish, became embroiled in a fight with Harvard University — his alma mater — after more than 30 of its student groups signed a statement that placed full blame for the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack, which killed 1,200 people and took another 240 hostage, on Israel.

Ackman took to social media site X, formerly Twitter, to demand that Harvard make public the names of the students so that Wall Street employers would refrain from hiring them. He subsequently published a 3,138-word letter on X that he had written to then-president of Harvard, Claudine Gay, outlining steps to counter rising anti-Semitism on campus.

Ackman later pushed for Gay’s resignation, alleging the academic leader was guilty of plagiarism and was not doing enough to counter anti-Semitism at the university. While managing to hold onto her post after testifying in a heated Congressional hearing over campus hate speech and anti-Semitism, the controversy led Gay to ultimately resign in early January.

The hedge fund titan describes himself as both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli, writing in a post on X in late October: “I am pro-Palestinian. Some might be surprised by this due to my recent advocacy on @X for Israel, but you shouldn’t be. I am anti-terrorist, not anti-Palestinian. It is not inconsistent to be pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian.”

He added, “My pro-Palestinian perspective began more than 30 years ago when I was introduced to the Palestinian community and their plight in the early 1990s,” saying that he “invested millions in helping promote Palestinian economic development and peaceful coexistence.”

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