Jason Ader to get his own team on board at Bwin.Party
Thursday 17 April 2014
US activist investor Jason Ader has laid out plans to install four directors on the board at bookie Bwin.Party.
Mr Ader’s SpringOwl started building a stake in the FTSE-250 listed online gaming company in February and now has a 6.1 per cent stake – its first investment in the UK.
Mr Ader has already spoken out about the recent appointment of Bwin chairman Philip Yea, a former 3i chief executive, and now wants to bring in his own people.
He will nominate US tech expert Michael Fertik, corporate lawyer Francis Grady, venture capital investor Kalendu Patel and casino and gaming expert Steven Rittvo at Bwin’s annual general meeting on May 22.
Mr Ader believes Bwin has huge potential in the US and is losing market share to rivals.
He said: “I have one objective: a higher stock price. The board has been complacent. This company has a lot of potential but also serious challenges. We want to work with management.”
Mr Ader questioned Mr Yea’s track record and said while he was at 3i it “lost 75 per cent of its value”. He added: “What does he bring to this company? I would like to meet him and ask him this.”
Mr Ader said he will be in London ahead of Bwin’s meeting next month.
Earlier this month Bwin said it urged Mr Ader “to use his right to nominate his representative… to the board.”
SpringOwl snapped up shares from trusts associated with two of Bwin’s founders – Ruth Parasol DeLeon and Russell DeLeon – who are divorcing. Spring Owl, and its sister fund Owl Spring Asset Management, was formed last year when former Wall Street gaming analyst Mr Ader’s Ader Investment Management merged with activist investor Cumberland Associates.
Bwin earlier this month said sales in the quarter had fallen 8 per cent year on year to €165.7m and Mr Ader believes it is underperforming.
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