Renowned US activist investor Jason Ader has returned to the gambling scene, securing a reported $100 million stake in FTSE250 gambling technology group Playtech Plc.
Ader’s ‘Springowl’ hedge fund is a specialist in activist investments, targeting underperforming listed enterprises and applying pressure on corporate governance to undertake major structural changes.
The Times reports that Springowl is pressuring Playtech governance to push for a sale of disposable corporate assets or to push for a further outright sale of the enterprise.
Impaired by Asian market restrictions, and a changing European regulatory environment, Playtech has seen its share price decline almost 50% over the past 12-month trading period.
Furthermore, investor pressure is mounting on Playtech governance to enact changes, with a significant number of shareholders (35%) opposing the re-election of Alan Jackson as Chairman.
The gambling sector has proved fruitful ground for Ader and Springowl, whose activist record includes the sale of bwin.party Entertainment in 2014/15 to GVC Holdings, and influencing the corporate restructure of Amaya Inc (Legacy The Stars Group Inc).
Nevertheless, recognised as the sector’s leading technology supplier, servicing the largest number of regulated-market tier1 gambling operators, Playtech governance is confident of the firm’s future turnaround and returning corporate value to its investor base.
Detailing that it will soon show its muscle within the liberalised US betting market, in its Q2 2018 trading update Playtech governance confirmed that appointment of Ian Penrose as its executive director leading its North American growth strategy.