Watchdog must give its blessing to Plus500 deal

Michael Bow
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THE UK’S finance watchdog will be asked for its blessing over a £460m takeover of Plus500 – amid an ongoing clampdown on the firm’s anti-money laundering procedures.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be asked to approve the change of control from its current owners to Playtech, majority owned by colourful Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi.

While scrutiny of the deal is a formality, the watchdog’s regulatory intervention at Plus500’s UK operations last month will add an extra frisson to the watchdog’s review. Opposition to the deal from its biggest shareholder could also scupper an agreement.

Plus500 collapsed in value last month when the FCA forced it to freeze accounts and stop taking new customers after ruling its anti-money laundering procedures were not up to scratch. Playtech unveiled a £460m deal for the group, which was backed by Plus500 management, last week but the firm’s top shareholder Odey Asset Management said it undervalued the company.

Any firm which is regulated by the FCA must have its blessing before a takeover can be completed by the parties involved.

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