Plus500 shareholders back takeover

Plus500 shareholders back takeover

Thursday, July 16, 2015 Totally Gaming
Mor Weizer is "delighted" by the Plus500 vote

Plus500 shareholders have given 93-per-cent approval to Playtech’s £459.6m (€627.2m/$702.2m) takeover of the trading platform.

Playtech offered 400p per share at the start of June for the FTSE AIM-listed company that had seen its share price drop from 770p in May to 369.44p after hitting regulatory problems in the UK.

While the takeover bid was accepted, there was some condemnation of the Plus500 board, who own 35 per cent of the stock and had given their backing to the bid despite issuing positive trading updates since the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in May that its anti-money-laundering controls were not satisfactory.

Odey Asset Management, which owns 20 per cent of stock, said last month that Plus500’s worth was “materially higher” than Playtech’s bid, while individual shareholder Leslie Young, who said he lost a “six-figure sum”, told the board at the meeting: “You’re selling the company for buttons. The way you’ve treated the shareholders is an absolute disgrace.”

Playtech, which spent £148.5m on a 91.1-per-cent stake in options broker TradeFX earlier this year, said that it is looking forward to creating a market-leading product in the financial trading sector.

“We are delighted to have secured the support of Plus500's shareholders,” said Mor Weizer, chief executive of Playtech.

“The combination of TradeFX and Plus500 will enable 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.”

Earlier this month, Gal Haber, chief executive of Plus500, said that the firm had achieved year-on-year revenue growth during the six months through to June 30 despite the FCA problems. In a trading update, Plus500 revealed that revenue in the first half 2015 amounted to $127m, up from $106.2m in the same period last year.

However, Plus500 did note that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell from $72m in the first six months of 2014 to $55.8m during the same period this year.

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