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Nice stock mystery buyer revealed: Bank Leumi Provident Funds announces it has acquired 5%

Rumor has it that there is a second anonymous buyer whose identity will be revealed in the next several days

The mystery behind the huge turnover in

Nice Systems

(Nasdaq:NICE) stock has been at least partially solved. Today

Bank Leumi

Provident Funds announced that it has bought 5% of Nice's equity, making it not only a substantial shareholder under Israeli law, but the single biggest shareholder in the company.

An inquiry by TheMarker.com has revealed that Bank Leumi Provident Funds have bought NIS 35 million to NIS 40 million worth of Nice equity since the company released its profit warning in December. The acquisitions began after Nice stock plunged overnight from $45 a share to $20 a share.

The

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Ilanot Batucha

investment house has also been buying Nice stock in recent days, though the scope of its acquisition is much smaller than that of the bank.

Nice stock shed some 60% in late December, after the company announcing that its fourth-quarter performance would fail to meet forecasts due to poor sales of digital recording products. After the dive, Nice stock began to attract very lively turnover on both the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and on Wall Street. On Tuesday Nice jumped 21% on Nasdaq.

The huge turnover in Nice shares set off a tide of speculation in the markets. Some investors had thought Nice rival Comverse Infosys had been snapping up the relatively low priced stock in advance of a takeover bid. Others had thought that institutional investors might br collecting Nice shares in order to gain a significant holding in the firm, which lacks a dominant shareholder. At one point, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded

Shrem Fudim Kelner

had even been mentioned as the mystery buyer, but SFK denied any involvement.

Although it would seem that the mystery has been cleared up, many feel that there is a second mystery buyer, whose identity will be revealed in the coming days.