Playtech's billionaire founder Teddy Sagi poised for a mega payout


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The Independent Online

Teddy Sagi, the billionaire founder of the gambling software group Playtech, is in line for a far bigger payout than any punter using its online poker or casino technology could dream of.

Described by Forbes as one of the world's 12 most eligible bachelors, Mr Sagi, who spent 18 months in an Israeli prison in the Nineties, is already reckoned to be worth $1.8bn (£1.2bn). As Playtech's largest shareholder with a 49.5 per cent stake, he is set to collect €33.3m (£29m) in dividends for last year, but he could also receive a one-off payment of more than £200m if the company hands the money it was paid for its share of William Hill Online back to shareholders.

The group sold its 29 per cent stake in William Hill Online for £424m two weeks ago and struck a multimillion-pound deal to build Ladbrokes Digital this week.

Mor Weizer, Playtech's chief executive, said that Mr Sagi, would be one of the first people he meets as he starts his round of investor chats this week following Playtech's full-year results.

He said: "Obviously we have been in the close season since we did the William Hill deal at the start of this month. Now we can use our roadshow to ask investors what they would like. This includes a capital return, investing in the business and further joint ventures."

Post-tax profits at Playtechjumped by 49 per cent last year to €168m on revenues up 53 per cent at €317m.

The dividend for the year is up 41 per cent at 32.2 euro cents.

Mr Weizer said: "During last year we put in place the building blocks for further growth in 2013.

"So far, average daily revenues are running 15 per cent ahead of last year. We are also excited about the opening up of the United States to legal online gambling. We have good partners there, particularly with Sportech, in which we have a 9.9 per cent shareholding."

Playtech shares, which have doubled in the past 12 months, added 38p to 613p.