Teddy Sagi Sells 4.1% of Playtech After 12% Sell-Off in November 2016
Playtech co-founder Teddy Sagi sold off shares of the online casino software giant for the second time in four months. The Playtech founder is thought to be worth about $5 billion, but he was looking for cash to invest in coworking real estate in central London.
Mr. Sagi sold 4.1% of the company’s stock, after selling a 12% stake in Playtech in November 2016.
The most recent selloff lowered Teddy Sagi’s stake in the company to 17.8%. The latest transaction included 13 million shared at a cost of 872.5p per share, which amounted to a sum of roughly £113 million. Boussard & Gavaudan Investment Management is a UK hedge fund owned by Boussard & Gavaudan Gestion, a French company. The parent company is authorized by the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), while the hedge fund is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Liquidating Assets for Real Estate Investments
When he sold the shares in November, Teddy Sagi signed a “lockop” agreement which stated he would not sell more Playtech shares until May 29, 2017. That agreement stated it was a subject to consent from the UBS and “customary exceptions”. In the current trading, he receive approval from the UBS.
Teddi Sagi said through news reports that the latest transaction was to liquidate assets to fund his London property campaigns, a project he has focus upon significantly in the past few years. Sagi was quoted saying he wants to be in the vanguard of a “coworking revolution“. “Coworking” is the term used for an office or working environment employed by a group of self-employed people or those working for different employers, such as small business owners. In a co-working environment, independent contractors or small businesses agree to share the same equipment, knowledge, and ideas.
What Is Co-Working?
Mr. Sagi plans to set up creative centers for entrepreneurs and other start-up companies, offering cost-effective office space to those who want lower start-up costs in trendy areas of London. Co-working situations allow start-ups to recruit top talent by locating in iconic areas of London, while keeping costs down. Teddy Sagi plans it is the wave of the future in the small business world, though the Playtech founder reiterated in interviews he plans to invest in more traditional London real estate in the coming months and years, too.
The November sell-off of Playtech shares may have been linked to an ambitious real estate purchase in Central Lodnon. In October 2016, Sagi bought the Holborn Links Estate for a total of $336 million. Holborn Links has 34 properties with a combined 465,000 square feet of space, which naturally would allow for many co-working leases.
Playtech’s Global Growth as of 2017
Despite Sagi’s lowering his investment in Playtech, the global gaming company appears to be in an expanding mode. Playtech opened a live dealer studio in Bucharest, Romania in January 2017. The company also entered the Romanian gaming market, which has been notably difficult to enter for other top Gibraltar-based online gambling operators.
Playtech also recently became the first online game supplier to launch operations in a Czech online casino. The Czech Republic legalized online casinos last year, but set a high tax rate that likely will keep some operators out of the market. The Czech Republic likely will be one of the most lucrative Eastern European gaming markets, so Playtech’s launch in the country is a sign it continues to blaze trails in iGaming.
Playtech released 2016 financial results last month, which showed 12% growth in year-to-year revenue. The full picture was even better, as Playtech’s overall gaming revenue increased by 21% last year. The year-on-year net revenue was €708.6 million.
Playtech Company Information
Teddy Sagi founded Playtech in 1999 in Tartu, Estonia. The company launched its first online casino product in 2001. Due to the software engineering and multimedia talent Sagi recruited, Playtech quickly became one of the leading online gaming solutions providers in the world. While Microgaming and NetEnt are strong rivals, Playtech may power more online casinos than any other developer in the world.
Playtech boasts quality as well as quantity. Blue chip UK online gambling companies like Bet365, Ladbrokes, and William Hill use Playtech software. So do top Italian online gambling operators like Sisal and Snai. Playtech even supplies software to some government and regulatory agencies.
Playtech Launches IPO
In 2006, Playtech floated its IPO on the AIM market with a market valuation of £550 million. Teddy Sagi’s financial stake in the company has waxed and waned over the years as his other business interests dovetailed with the online gambling industry. For instance, Teddy Sagi sold $250 million in assets to Playtech in October 2008, but later sold his side startup, PT Turnkey Solutions, to Playtech for £125 million.
Over the years, Playtech has build a large portfolio in the gaming industry through acquisitions. Top purchases have included PokerStrategy.com, Aristocrat Leisure Limited, YoYo Games, Plus500, Quickspin, and BestGameTechnology (BGT). As of February 2016, the company employeed over 5,000 people in 13 countries worldwide.