Kushner Cos. Plans to Tap Israeli Debt Market With Bond Sale

Jared Kushner’s family real estate company plans to borrow at least $100 million through Israel’s debt market, joining a list of prominent New York-area developers that have raised funds there to fuel growth in the U.S.

Kushner Cos., the firm President Donald Trump’s son-in-law left to become a White House senior adviser, filed papers to sell bonds on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, and a deal could come in the next few months, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The company’s debt sale would be its first in Israel, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the news late Tuesday.

“Kushner is considering the option of issuing bonds on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange,” a spokesperson for the firm said by email. “The company has had years of success working with Israeli institutions as both a borrower and a partner.”

If Kushner proceeds with the sale, the company would follow U.S.-focused property firms such as Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group, Extell Development, and Joel Wiener’s Pinnacle Group in raising funds from Israeli investors. Israel’s debt market has been friendly to New York developers, where just a few years ago U.S. developers were able to borrow at interest rates half of those in the U.S.

A debt deal may also intensify ongoing concerns about Jared Kushner’s potential conflicts of interest. During the Trump administration, the family company sought investors from Israel, China and Qatar as Kushner helped shape foreign policy, with a particular focus on the Mideast and Israel. While he stepped down from his role at Kushner Cos. and transferred some of his assets to family members, the structure of the divestments wasn’t clear.

The planned bond sale comes one week after Kushner was in Israel on a diplomatic mission. While working in the White House, Kushner has traveled extensively in Israel and the broader Mideast to help broker a thaw in relations between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

The White House and Kushner Cos. have rejected accusations that Kushner’s work on behalf of the U.S. government has been influenced by his family property business. Kushner Cos. has previously worked with Israeli financial firms, including Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, according to the company’s website.

The debt offering may not get a warm reception in Israel, where U.S. companies’ bonds have tumbled on investor concerns about pressures on the apartment market from the Covid-19 pandemic. In New York, landlords have suffered in recent months as renters skipped payments and office buildings sit empty, hurting property valuations and pinching developers.

Since Kushner joined the White House, the company where he was chief executive officer has pulled back from New York City and refocused its ambitions on apartment complexes in New Jersey and Florida.

Last week Trump pardoned Charles Kushner, Jared’s father and the head of Kushner Cos., for crimes that included false tax returns and witness retaliation.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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