It looks like someone is making a big bet on Playtech.
Online entrepreneur Teddy Sagi has indicated in filings with the London Stock Exchange that he has sold 13 million shares of publicly traded Playtech PLC (LON:PTEC) to the UK arm of Paris based asset manager Boussard & Gavaudan for £113.4 million (USD $138 million).
The stake represents about one-fifth of Sagi’s overall holding in Playtech. He continues to be Playtech’s largest shareholder after the sale, with 56.58 million shares, or a 17.8% interest in the company.
Boussard & Gavaudan is an asset management firm with headquarters in Paris and an FCA-licensed arm in London. The firm, founded in 2002 and still run by former Goldman Sachs bankers Emmanuel Boussard and Emmanuel Gavaudan, manages €2.9 billion spread across various funds.
Playtech is the world’s largest online gaming software supplier. Its financial division includes the Markets.com retail forex brokerage and institutional FX firm CFH Group, which Playtech acquired late last year for $120 million.
The share sale, made via Sagi’s private holding company Brickington Trading Limited, required the waiving of a 180-day lock-up the company had agreed to with lead underwriter UBS when Sagi sold £329 million worth of Playtech shares in a secondary offering at the end of November. UBS apparently agreed to waive the lock-up as the filing indicates that the sale was a result of a direct and unsolicited inbound enquiry from Boussard & Gavaudan, and was not done in an open market sale. And, Boussard & Gavaudan itself agreed to a lock-up on the shares to the original 180-day date of May 29, 2017.
The share sale was done at a slight discount to Playtech’s closing share price from Tuesday. Playtech closed at £9.08 yesterday, placing the share sale at £8.725 at a 3.9% discount. Playtech shares have reacted this morning by trading down about 1%, sitting at £8.97.
One more thought – for Boussard & Gavaudan to make money on their investment, Playtech shares will have to hit uncharted territory. PTEC shares are already near their 52-week and all-time high of £9.54.
The complete filing reads as follows:
15 March 2017
(“Playtech” or the “Playtech Group”)
Variation in Brickington lock-up arrangement
Playtech plc (“Playtech”) announces it has been notified by Brickington Trading Limited (“Brickington”) that following a direct and unsolicited inbound enquiry to Brickington by Boussard & Gavaudan Investment Management LLP (“Boussard & Gavaudan”), Brickington has agreed to sell 13.0 million Playtech shares to them at a price of 872.5 pence per share (the “Sale”). The Sale shares are equivalent to 4.1 per cent of Playtech’s current total issued ordinary share capital and will be subject to a lock-up.
Following completion of the Sale, Brickington’s holding in Playtech will reduce to 56,582,169 ordinary shares, representing 17.8 per cent. of voting rights in Playtech.
Brickington is a wholly owned subsidiary of a trust of which Playtech’s founder, Mr. Teddy Sagi is the ultimate beneficiary. Brickington will continue to be Playtech’s largest single shareholder following the Sale.
In order to enable Boussard & Gavaudan to make this significant investment in Playtech, Brickington has been released with the consent of UBS Limited (“UBS”) from the 180 day lock-up arrangement put in place at the time of its disposal of ordinary shares in Playtech in early December 2016. Following the Sale, Brickington has agreed not to sell any Playtech shares until 29 May 2017 at the earliest, subject to the same customary exceptions and UBS’s consent. Boussard & Gavaudan has also agreed to a lock up arrangement on the Playtech shares they are acquiring from Brickington for the same period ending on 29 May 2017. UBS executed the Sale on behalf of Brickington.