Teddy Sagi And The Playtech Empire
Teddy Sagi’s company Playtech is extremely popular in the media nowadays due to its purchase of Plus500. What lies beneath it all?
Online gambling business news news is virtually blowing up around Teddy Sagi’s gambling software developer company over these last few weeks. Although he is mainly known for his role in shaping the online gambling business with Playtech, he recently acquired Plus500, an online Forex trading company. Adhering to the Financial Times’ words, “the man who owns most of Camden Market” is now opening new horizons for himself and his company. The GBP 460 deal will mark the start of a collaboration between two huge sectors: online gambling and online trade.
Playtech is a giant. Established in 1999, the company has since then grown to a monstrous size. According to the Financial Times, just last year, Sagi sold a 15.4% stake in his company and got away GBP 326 million richer. I think he could do some shopping and travelling with that kind of money… Playtech’s stocks were available for public purchase on the London Stock Exchange in 2006 and Collins Stewart, a broker firm that was purchased by Cannacord of Canada, managed the process. It was Cannacord which recommended the acquisition of Plus500.
Broadening the scope from Silicon Valley and New York to London
As Jon Medved, CEO and creator of an Israeli crowdfunding company called OurCrowd, told the Financial Times: “When you think here about the Israeli entrepreneurial set, most are focused on New York or Silicon Valley, but Teddy is a London guy.” The gambling software company’s founder has risen quickly to the world of billionaires. And he is still looking for new opportunities to make his company as diverse and profitable as possible.
2014 was eventful regarding his companies: Market Tech (with a direct link to Camden Market,) SafeCharge and Crossrider were all floated on the stock market.
Each one of those companies’ profiles are different, one is an online payments site, while the other one is a digital advertising agency. The diversity of the Sagiempire manifests well if we look at these couple of companies. Currently, Teddy Sagi’s net worth is around USD 3.5 billion. But, as we can imagine, money like that doesn’t come without confrontations. As the Financial Times reports, Sagi used to have a joint business with one of the largest British bookmakers, William Hill. The company is named William Hill Online and is basically a sports betting site. Sagi’s company Playtech also sells gambling software to this company (as well as to Ladbrokes, for example.)
William Hill blocked Teddy Sagi from selling his stake in the company
Sagi decided that he wanted to sell his possessions in WHO, but was handed an injunction from William Hill, instead. Some months later, William Hill wanted to expand into the mobile gambling market, but couldn’t due to difficulties posed by Playtech. Mr. Sagi is not the model citizen, either: as reported by the Financial Times, he spent 18 months in prison for fraud and extortion while he was back in Israel. Probably he learnt his lesson. If not, at least now he has so much money that he can employ the best lawyers in the world.
Another Israeli tech businessman stated his viewpoints on Playtech’s new purchase to the Financial Times and held that although Sagi purchased a forex trading company, he was definitely not turning away completely from gambling. As the businessman said, trading companies like Plus500 were “very similar to gambling — the kind of leverage you give consumers makes it very much like gambling”. In consonance with the official statement as to why the purchase took place, Playtech said that they were interested in Plus500’s “market reach, advanced technology, product offering and existing customer relationships globally” and that Playtech would merely provide the new acquisition with some back office advantages.