Playtech’s offer for Plus500 gets the green light

Suzie Neuwirth
PLUS500, the online trading company recently part of a money laundering probe, yesterday won shareholder approval for a takeover by Playtech.

The majority of investors voted in favour of the £459.6m offer from the Israeli gaming technology company, despite opposition to the deal from the largest shareholder, hedge fund supremo Crispin Odey.

Close to 93.4 per cent of votes cast at the special shareholder meeting were in favour of the 400p-per-share offer, equating to 71.8 per cent of the total voting power. The deal is subject to anti-trust and regulatory clearance, as well as approval from Playtech’s shareholders.

Odey Asset Management, which owns around 20 per cent of Plus500, said last month that the Playtech offer “materially undervalues” the company and invited rival offers.

Plus500’s share price has plummeted by more than two thirds since May, after the City watchdog ordered some customer acounts to be frozen as part of a probe into money laundering.

Odey increased its stake as the share price fell, hoping to make a profit if the stock rebounded.

“It’s a fair price given the increased scrutiny,” Plus500 chief executive Gal Haber reportedly said at the shareholder meeting yesterday.

Rivals “had time to make an offer, which they didn’t,” he added, according to Bloomberg.

Plus500 unfroze most accounts last month and said last week it had revised its security checks. It will start taking new UK clients again next month.

Shares closed 0.2 per cent higher at 389p, far below the 750p it was trading at before the FCA’s probe launched.