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Bill Ackman and his wife Neri Oxman have acquired a stake in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, in a transaction that marks one of the most significant investments in Israel since its war against Hamas began in October.
The couple bought a 4.9 per cent stake, the exchange said on Wednesday, as part of a wider stake sale worth 353mn shekels ($95mn).
The sale drew “robust interest from investors across Israel, the United States, Europe and Australia” and was a “strong vote of confidence in both the [bourse] and the Israeli economy at large”, the bourse said, and comes as the stock exchange seeks funds to improve its technology.
Ackman and his wife were the only buyers named by the exchange. They paid about $25mn for their stake, according to Financial Times calculations.
Shares in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange climbed as much as 9 per cent on Wednesday morning.
Ackman, the founder of New York-based hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, is known for his activist campaigns at big companies, including dietary supplements company Herbalife, department store JCPenney and Canadian Pacific Railway. His main fund gained 27 per cent in 2023, making $3.5bn for investors.
Since the Israel-Hamas war began, Ackman has deployed his activist tactics outside his usual realm, campaigning against several major US universities — including his alma mater Harvard — that he argues have not done enough to combat antisemitism.
Ackman, who has 1.1mn followers on social media platform X, publicly called for the resignations of the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and MIT following criticism of their performance at a congressional hearing about antisemitism on university campuses late last year.
He led a high-profile campaign on X against Harvard president Claudine Gay, alleging that the university’s leadership had not done enough to support Jewish students. Gay stepped down on January 2, in part over allegations of plagiarism. The president of the University of Pennsylvania has also resigned since last year’s congressional hearing.
Ackman launched a high-profile campaign against Business Insider and its German parent company Axel Springer after the news website published plagiarism allegations against his wife Oxman, an academic, on January 4.
An internal review by Axel Springer found Business Insider’s reporting of plagiarism allegations against Oxman accurate and “well documented” and said it stood by the publication. Ackman has threatened legal action against the title and its owner.