Playtech PLC’s co-founder Teddy Sagi, the company’s largest shareholder, has sold off a sizable chunk of his stock in the company. The sale was made through his trust, Brickington Trading Limited.
It was known that Sagi was going to sell some of his stock, but he decided to increase the amount from 10 percent to 12 percent of his holdings. He still remains Playtech’s largest shareholder, owning 21.6 percent of the online gaming firm. The fun figures: 38.7 million ordinary shares for 850p each, a total of £329 million.
As part of the sale, Sagi and Brickington (which sounds like a LEGO city) agreed to not sell any more shares for 180 days.
The sale put a hurting on other shareholders, as naturally Playtech’s stock price plummeted to the level at which Brickington sold. On November 29th, the day before the sale, Playtech (LON: PTEC) closed at 921p per share. Brickington clearly sold at a discount, but when selling that many shares, that is not unusual, as Brickington needed to match up with buyers. So while it hurts other shareholders in the near term, this sort of thing is commonplace.
Sometimes, when major shareholder sells a significant piece of their holdings, it can be a sign that said shareholder is not confident in the future of the company. That is not the case with Sagi. Sagi simply wanted to diversify Brickington’s portfolio, not keeping it weighted quite so heavily in Playtech (though it still is). The trust also holds shares in tech ventures and UK property. Playtech has said that Sagi is still very much onboard with where the company is going.
In March of 2014, Sagi made a similar transaction, selling 15 percent of his stake in Playtech at the time for £326 million. He had not originally intended to sell that much, but according to Reuters, Playtech said that there was such high demand for the stock that Sagi decided to up his sale from 29.3 million shares to 45 million. After that sale, Sagi owned 33.6 percent of Playtech and promised to not sell any more shares for a year. Playtech Chief Executive Mor Weizer and Chief Financial Officer Ron Hoffman both bought thousands of Sagi’s shares in the offloading.
Playtech is the world’s largest online gaming software developer, providing licenses for a number of customers, including Betfair, William Hill, and Paddy Power. It operates the iPoker Network, currently ranked sixth in terms of cash game traffic by PokerScout.com. With a seven-day average of 950 cash game players, it is just behind the Winning Poker Network (1,000 cash game players) and Winamax.fr (1,100). The top three poker rooms are PokerStars (13,000), 888poker (1,900), and Ignition, which took over Bovada’s poker room (1,200). Ignition and Winning Poker Network have an advantage over iPoker, as they still accept customers from the U.S.