Ampal-American Israel Corporation said Monday that a subsidiary acquired a 2-percent stake in East Mediterranean Gas Company from Merhav MNF for $29.96 million. Yosef Maiman, the Chairman of Ampal's Board of Directors, is also sole owner of Merhav. The purchase was approved by a special committee of the board, composed of Ampal's independent directors, the company said. Ampal was also granted the exclusive right to negotiate to acquire "a substantial portion" of Merhav's remaining 23% stake in EMG. "We fully intend to pursue a lager interest in EMG in the months to come," said Ampal President and CEO Jack Bigio, noting the opportunity such deals represent for the company and its shareholders.