Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon (Noni) Mozes’ financial decisions resulted in substantial losses because of speculative investments, News1’s Yoav Yitzhak reported over the weekend.
According to the report, Mozes’ chose to invest heavily in foreign currencies, and their subsequent depreciation has led to the loss of hundreds of millions of shekels.
Mozes has, along with businessman Eliezer Fishman , a controlling stake at Yedioth Ahronoth Group.
Some 10 years ago, Fishman bet on the Turkish pound, only to see it free fall. One of Fishman’s companies, Mirland Development Corporation, has recently incurred heavy losses because its assets were exposed to the depreciating Russian ruble.
The company is now in talks with creditors over a possible debt restructuring. According to Yitzhak, it was Fishman who convinced Mozes to engage in foreign currency speculation. Foreign currencies are among the least predictable and riskiest investments. They are particularly prone to high volatility.
Over the past year, currencies that have long been considered a solid investment have seen a rapid devaluation. According to Yitzhak, Mozes had to apply for fast-track loans from private lenders and ask for additional credit because of the losses he had incurred.
It is worth noting that in order to buy the group’s stock and become a controlling interest, Mozes and Fishman had to borrow significant sums. Only several weeks ago, Mozes tapped Yedioth Ahronoth Group Deputy CEO Yinon Engel to serve as CEO. Engel also served as the group’s chief financial officer.
The appointment surprised many because Mozes has, by all accounts, held the rank of CEO since his takeover in the 1980s.
The group is expected to move its headquarters from Tel Aviv to Rishon Lezion. Senior Yedioth Ahronoth officials have said the relocation is meant to offset the losses generated by the competition with Israel Hayom. But Yedioth’s cash shortfall is Mozes-made, at least when it comes to foreign currency speculation.