You’ve probably heard this name before, and it’s no surprise: Playtech is the world’s biggest gambling software and services supplier. With the recent news that they have sold 4.1% of their shares, many people may well be asking themselves the story behind this huge, multinational brand. Whilst their history has long been documented, there’s perhaps no better time than to familiarize yourself with the particulars.
Since its incarnation in 1999, Playtech has been world leaders in providing software for online casino games such as poker and bingo.
The last eighteen years have seen massive growth, from relatively humble beginnings by creator Teddy Sagi in Estonia, through to seeing the company listed on the London Stock Exchange and as a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index today. It also makes acquisitions of smaller companies.
While there have certainly been ups and downs, today the company is not only a market leader but also a thought leader in the industry, too. Playtech is also part of the Gambling Business Group, which advises on issues within the industry.
Playtech employs over 5000 staff in 13 different territories worldwide. They use a poker platform called iPoker designed by Geoff Hall and provide their software to worldwide household names in the gambling industry.
They also collaborate in partnership with big media companies in the online gaming world. For example, The Sun newspaper-owned Sun Bingo operates using the Playtech software, for their range of different gameplay options ranging from bingo in a range of varieties, and of course the slots.
In November, Playtech sold 12% of the company, and in February reported a 32% rise in adjusted earnings. There has also been somewhat of a buying spree; buying up both international brands and rivals such as Australian Eyecon and Best Gaming Technology – left, right, and centre.
The deal in question came as somewhat of a surprise, but founder Sagi claims he sold the 4.1% shares in question at 873p; a 4% discount to the Tuesday closing price of 909p. In turn, he raised about £113m. The deal will ensure he retains an 18% share in Playtech, remaining the largest shareholder in the organization.
The decision to sell shares in this instance has come directly from founder Teddy Sagi himself. As a billionaire, he has a range of entrepreneurial interests, which go beyond one particular field. In this instance, the decision was taken in order to pursue another growing sector of business.
Playtech will look after itself and continue to grow; of this, Sagi is fairly confident. However, he’s setting his sights additionally on the modern concept of shared office space. Wishing to be at the helm in influencing more of these co-working spaces, the additional capital from the sale of his shares will allow him to invest further.
Recent figures highlight that London is a great place for this to start – Londoners work an average of “3 weeks” more than the rest of the country, according to recent figures from the Office Of National Statistics. Such shared spaces are becoming increasingly popular as the demand for flexible working and a work-life balance grows and becomes ever more realistic in the digital age. For a man whose wealth has become insurmountable through digital ventures, this is surely an exciting concept that he more than understands.
Indeed, in an interview with Financial Times online Sagi is quoted on saying that he’ll be “taking some of the capital’s most iconic properties and establishing creative hubs where start-ups, SMEs and entrepreneurs can work, network and grow together”.
We all know that online business has plenty of scope and potential, and this is a fact that Sagi has both acknowledged and embraced.
We forecast that Playtech will continue to be market leaders, showcasing the biggest brands in the iGaming industry, with strongholds both on the technological, business and financial front. It’s not enough to excel in one area, a fact which this company knows only too well in playing the stocks and shares game.
The future looks bright for Playtech, but even more so for its founder and his vision.
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