LeapRate Exclusive… For the first time in a long time, Teddy Sagi is no longer the largest shareholder in Playtech PLC (LON:PTEC).
LeapRate has learned via regulatory filings that US investment management giant T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NASDAQ:TROW) has significantly increased its position in Playtech over the past week, from about 5% to just over 10.2%. Over the past seven days T. Rowe Price has bought about 16.5 million shares of the online gaming platforms and financial trading company, bringing its total Playtech shareholding to 32.4 million shares, worth now about £251 million (USD $348 million).
T. Rowe Price manages assets of about $1 trillion ($991 billion as of December 31, 2017).
That now positions Playtech founder Teddy Sagi as the second largest shareholder. Mr. Sagi, via his holding company Brickington Trading Limited, has been selling down his stake in Playtech in a series of secondary offerings in recent years, as he refocuses on other areas such as real estate development. In his most recent sale, in June 2017, Teddy Sagi netted $429 million from a Playtech share sale that brought his holdings down to 20.1 million Playtech shares, or about 6.3% of the company.
So now, three of Playtech’s four largest shareholders are institutional investors. After T. Rowe Price and Teddy Sagi, next in line is US investment bank Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) with a 5.8% holding, just slightly smaller than Mr. Sagi’s. Paris based asset manager Boussard & Gavaudan acquired 13 million Playtech shares from Brickington in March 2017 for a 4% holding.
Playtech shares are at about 75% of their 52-week (and all time high) set mid last year. Playtech shares took a steep fall in November after the company indicated that its business was slowing in the second half of 2017. The company also indicated that its Markets.com Retail FX unit suffered a $7.6 million cryptocurrency trading loss in Q4.
Playtech one-year share price graph. Source: CNBC.