Sep 6, 2023 - Economy

Jared Kushner cinches his first Israeli private equity deal

Photo illustration of Jared Kushner against a deconstructed Israeli flag and background of shekel notes.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Jared Kushner's private equity fund, which he launched after President Trump left the White House in 2021, has agreed to its first Israeli deal.

Why it matters: Miami-based Affinity Partners is backed by $2 billion from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, and this is believed to be the first Saudi-sponsored investment in an Israeli company.

  • It also comes as House Democrats continue to turn up the heat on Kushner over Affinity and its ties to foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
  • During the Trump administration, Kushner's policy portfolio included Middle East diplomacy.
  • Another member of the Trump White House, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, also raised a private equity fund backed by Saudi Arabia, but has not invested in Israel.

Driving the news: Affinity is investing $150 million for a 10% stake in the auto services unit of Shlomo Group, which operates sort of like AAA on steroids.

  • Shlomo began in 1974 as a small car rental outfit, and later began offering an array of services to corporate auto fleets (e.g., leasing, roadside aid, maintenance). It later expanded into several non-auto business, in which Affinity is not taking a position.
  • The company is still family owned, but has publicly traded bonds. Affinity will be its first outside equity investor.
  • Expect some proceeds to go toward international expansion.

Look ahead: News recently leaked that Affinity is in talks to invest around $250 million for a 25% stake in Israel's Phoenix Insurance Agencies, and Axios has learned that papers could be signed within the month.

  • Affinity's first overall deal came just over a year ago, when it backed a California solar energy fintech company called Mosaic.
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