On Tuesday, Sagi sold shares equating to 11.5% of the UK-listed Playtech, raising roughly £340m in the process. The sale of the 36.5m shares came after the stock hit an all-time high of £10.15 on Friday. Playtech shares fell 3.1% following Sagi’s selloff, closing at £9.62 on Tuesday.
It’s the third major Sagi selloff since last November, which has boosted his cash pile by £782m while reducing his stake in the company from 33.6% to just 6.3% as of Tuesday.
Sagi’s investment vehicle Brickington Trading Ltd has promised not to sell any further Playtech shares for at least 180 days but, given the hectic pace of Sagi’s divestment, one should likely expect another major share sale within hours of that lockup’s expiry.
This latest reduction of Sagi’s holdings means he and Brickington have fallen below the ‘special major shareholder’ threshold that entitled him to appoint directors to Playtech’s board and to provide inter-company services to Playtech. Despite his dwindling financial interest in the company he founded, Sagi issued a statement insisting that he “still believe[s] in the long-term success of Playtech.”
Sagi said he plans to use the cash provided by the selloff to continue buying up huge swaths of real estate in London and other European capitals. Sagi’s real estate interests currently include most of London’s Camden Market area, while last month he spent £219.3m to take a controlling stake in Netherlands-based property group Brack Capital Properties.
Sagi formed Playtech in 1999, right around the time he was sentenced to 18 months in an Israeli prison for his involvement in a major stock fraud. His criminal record was considered the chief reason that UK regulators blocked Playtech’s efforts to acquire financial trading outfit Plus500 in 2015. The Financial Conduct Authority reportedly demanded that Sagi sell most of his Playtech shares for the deal to proceed.