Playtech покупает Plus500 за £459.6 млн

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Gambling software maker Playtech is buying a city trading firm in crisis — here’s why it makes sense

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Plus500 doesn’t look like a great business right now — shares have collapsed over 50% since the UK’s financial watchdog told it to freeze all customers’ trading accounts and fix its anti-money laundering checks two weeks ago.

Playtech doesn’t look like the most obvious buyer either. The Israeli company’s core business is gambling software, working with the likes of William Hill and Ladbrokes. The idea of a gambling company buying a trading business would make most regulators break out into a cold sweat.

But the key to the deal is the technology at the heart of both companies.

Playtech founder Teddy Sagi sees his business as a technology play, not a gambling company. Its software has up until now been used to crunch through bets and wagers online and in gaming machines, but there’s other stuff it can be used for — namely processing financial trades.

In April the company made its first foray into the world of finance when it bought TradeFX in a €458 million (£327 million/$500 million) deal.

TradeFX has a strong business in CFDs, a form of trade that lets people effectively bet on shares or currencies. These are one of the fastest growing areas of finance and P laytech saw TradeFX as a good way to use its software to make money, at a time when gaming machines are coming under increased political pressure in the UK.

Buying Plus500, the UK’s second biggest CFD provider, is a way to build out this new financial business. Plus500 will be rolled into TradeFX, with Playtech CFO Ron Hoffman heading the enlarged business.

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Not only will the acquisition grow Playtech’s financial business, the two companies will compliment each other. Hoffman told a call this morning: » Plus500 was very focused on product and marketing, not CRM [customer relationship management], which is why we see there’s a great opportunity to combine this.»

Plus500 tries to pull in as many customers as possible, with less focus on keeping them. CEO Gal Haber told investors at last week’s AGM that the average account holder was with Plus500 for just 18 months.

Playtech are betting that by using existing software from TradeFX and its own back catalogue it can squeeze more cash out of Plus500 customers by keeping them interested for longer. On the other hand, Plus500’s superior CFD platform can boost TradeFX.

Hoffman said: » You combine two different best of breeds in different parts of the verticals.

«Our plan is to run one, best of breed offering. We will maintain both brands because both brands are strong and strong in different markets. From a technology perspective, we will make sure we’ve got best offering for both.»

Playtech also think regulatory issues are overcooked. Hoffman said: » We believe it’s a very good business that underestimated its requirements as it grew.»

It sees Plus500’s current predicament as a man power issue, not a fatal flaw. A key sell to Plus500 investors is that Playtech has the know-how and resources to sort out the current crisis. Playtech operates around the world and has plenty of experience dealing with watchdogs.

There’s also another big reason for the deal — it’s a bargain.

Plus500’s recent share price collapse means that Playtech is getting technology and customers on the cheap. And the fact that Plus500 looks like such a basket case from the outside means it’s in a pretty weak bargaining position.

» In respect of recent issues, we saw an opportunity and acted quickly,» Hoffman said.

Hoffman also hinted that break clauses in the contract will also allow it to walk away if the business’ current problems prove to be worse than forecast.

From a technology and growth perspective, then, the deal makes a lot more sense.

Playtech продает пакет Plus500 за $ 227 млн

Компания Playtech объявила, что продает свою 10% долю в онлайн-платформе Plus500.

По словам провайдера, полученные от продажи денежные средства, будут направлены на сокращение задолженности, имеющейся у Playtech на данный момент, а также на развитие текущих проектов компании.

Еще в 2020 году Playtech вела переговоры о поглощении Plus500. Тогда компания готова была потратить £ 460 млн ($ 593,4 млн) на приобретение платформы. Но планы провалились, когда британский орган по финансовому управлению заблокировал покупку. Известно, что отмена сделки связана с громким делом, связанным с основателем Playtech Тедди Саги. В 1990-х он был осужден за крупное мошенничество с фондами, что подкосило его репутацию.

Несмотря на то, что Playtech распродает активы, компания стабильно показывает рост выручки. За первую половину 2020 года ей удалось заработать $ 506 млн, что на 4% выше, чем в прошлом году. Данные приведены без учета показателей азиатских рынков, где выручка с января по июнь выросла на 35% в годовом исчислении.

Playtech to acquire Plus500 in £460 million deal

Investing.com — Israeli gaming company Playtech Plc (LONDON: PTEC ) has agreed to acquire spread betting company Plus500 Ltd (LONDON: PLUSP ) for approximately £460 million in a deal announced on Monday.

The final deal values Plus500 at £459.6 million or £4 per share, almost half the value of the company before the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a review of its anti-money laundering procedures two weeks ago.

The prospects of an FCA review triggered a collapse in the company’s share price.

The board of Plus500 also issued a profit warning for this year along with news of the sale.

The company said it «now expects group revenue for 2020 to be lower than in 2020, with margins expected to be significantly lower due to maintained marketing spend». It added that the sale of the company was expected to “immediately” enhance earnings.

Playtech which provides software used in sports betting and online gaming, bought a majority stake in trading platform and payment services provider TradeFX for $224 million earlier this year.

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said “having recently completed the acquisition of TradeFX, the opportunity to acquire Plus500 will prove transformational for our ambitions to expand Playtech’s wider offering”.

“As an immediately earnings enhancing acquisition, the combination of the two businesses is compelling, enabling us to apply our market-leading products and services to the enlarged financial trading business as we continue to execute our growth strategy for the Group,” he added.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of September, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

Both companies are traded on the London Stock Exchange.

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