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Israeli banking regulator backs Warburg Pincus' credit card unit purchase

Israel's banking regulator will ask the Bank of Israel governor to issue a license for U.S. private equity company Warburg Pincus LLC's 2.5 billion shekels purchase of Bank Leumi le-Israel BM's credit card unit, Reuters reported.

Leumi owns 80% of Leumi Card and Israeli real estate company Azrieli Group owns 20%. Leumi and Azrieli entered a deal to sell their holdings in the credit card issuer in late July 2018.

The recommendation paves the way for the deal's completion, according to the Dec. 31, 2018, report.

Israel's two top banking institutions Bank Hapoalim BM and Leumi have been ordered by regulators to divest their credit card companies by early 2020, in order to spur competition.

As of Dec. 28, US$1 was equivalent to 3.76 Israeli shekels.