Teddy Sagi Offloads Entire Stake in Playtech

The Israeli billionaire has sold his entire stake in the gambling company as US activist investor has been urging Playtech to sever ties with its founder

Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi has sold out of his holding in online gaming provider Playtech, a company he founded himself nearly two decades ago.

Through a placement by Brickington Trading, Mr. Sagi has sold around 15.2 million ordinary shares, equivalent to 4.8% of the company. Brickington Trading is a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Invest, a trust of which the Israeli billionaire is the sole beneficiary. With the latest sale of Playtech stock, Mr. Sagi has offloaded his entire holding in the online gambling company and has put an end to his involvement in it. He was quoted saying that he wishes Playtech “every success in the future”

Earlier this month, the businessman sold nearly 5 million shares, equivalent to 1.6% of the London-listed company’s issued capital.

Mr. Sagi founded Playtech in 1999. The company specializes in the provision of solutions for the online gambling industry. Playtech floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2006. Since its flotation, it has grown tremendously through acquisitions. The company currently employs more than 5,000 people and has offices in 17 countries. With estimated market cap of around £1.4 billion, Playtech is member of the FTSE 250.

The company has had a bit of a hard time lately as its shares have halved in price over the past year on the back of two profit warnings.

At a price of 450 pence per share, Mr. Sagi has collected the approximate amount of £68 million from the sale of his final 4.8% stake in the company. Prior to Playtech’s flotation, the businessman owned more than a half of the company. However, he has sold down his controlling stake in the company bit by bit over the past several years, saying that he wants to diversify his business portfolio and pursue new endeavors, primarily in the real estate and technology sectors.

Mr. Sagi has recycled the proceeds from the sale of Playtech shares to buy London’s Camden Market and Dutch developer of shared office spaces for startups and entrepreneurs Brack Capital, among others.

Investor Pressure

News about Mr. Sagi cutting ties with Playtech emerge shortly after The Times reported that American activist investor Jason Ader of SpringOwl Asset Management has penned a letter to the directors of the gambling technology giant to express his concerns about the Israeli businessman’s involvement.

According to Mr. Ader, Mr. Sagi’s colorful past, has had a negative impact on Playtech’s value and the company’s ambitions to expand to the United States. The activist investor has referred to the fact that Mr. Sagi was sentenced to prison in his homeland back in his early twenties on insider trading charges.

It emerged earlier this year that Mr. Ader has quietly built a 5% stake in Playtech. The investor is known for playing a key role in GVC Holdings’ acquisition of fellow online gambling operator bwin.party in 2016.

It is believed that Mr. Ader is now pressing for Playtech to dispose of its financial businesses and focus on its gaming operations. In previous comments on his involvement in the gaming tech company, the US investor has said that Mr. Sagi still being part of the company was “a negative” for it and that he did not have “a sense that the future of the company includes Teddy Sagi.”

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