UK-listed online gambling operator Bwin.party digital entertainment has agreed to add Ader Investment Management president Daniel Silvers to its board of directors in exchange for activist investor Jason Ader dropping his push for even more substantial executive shuffling.
Ader, whose SpringOwl investment vehicle acquired 5.25% of Bwin.party stock earlier this year, had nominated four individuals for addition to Bwin.party’s board based on his lack of faith in the present management’s capacity to rescue the floundering company, which has suffered a 60% decline in its share price since the merger of Bwin and PartyGaming was announced in 2010.
The deal to add Silvers was struck Thursday, mere hours before the issue was to be voted on by Bwin.party shareholders at their annual general meeting in Gibraltar. Bwin.party has also agreed to consider one of Ader’s original four nominees, Reputation.com CEO Michael Fertik, as a possible replacement for the three directors whose departure Bwin.party announced last week. In exchange, Ader agreed to withdraw his resolutions from the AGM agenda.
Following the deal, both parties were in full-on diplomacy mode, with Bwin.party chairman Philip Yea expressing his delight at being “able to demonstrate common ground” with SpringOwl and Ader praising the company’s “great brand and enormous potential” while pledging to work with Yea and the board “to ensure this potential is both realized and translated into long-term value for shareholders.”
News of the truce did little to arrest the decline in Bwin.party’s share price, which fell 1% to 117.8p on Thursday. Interestingly, the Savebwinparty.com domain Ader had launched as a soapbox for his long list of Bwin.party management shortcomings was “down for maintenance” on Thursday.
The rest of Bwin.party’s AGM was uneventful, with the only serious sign of dissent coming from the 17% of shareholders who voted against approving the controversial bonus scheme for CEO Norbert Teufelberger, CFO Martin Wiegold and departing director Manfred Bodner.