Many of you familiar with the gaming industry will know the name Teddy Sagi.
In this world, Sagi is known for founding Playtech, one of the largest and most profitable of the software companies.
What you may not know is how Sagi got involved in the industry, and how unlike many of his counterparts, the gaming piece is only a small part of his overall portfolio.
Teddy Sagi was born in 1972 in Tel Aviv, Israel. His father owned a travel agency, and his mother worked as a licensed cosmetician.
Having two working parents is probably where the desire to make something of himself was instilled into Sagi, although the path he chose to amass his fortune would have many twists and turns.
To build his bankroll, he used the expertise he had learned from his father to make some real estate deals and stock market investments.
These deals contributed to making Sagi some good money, but he knew it wasn’t the way to become incredibly wealthy. His research led him to want to invest in Internet-based companies. This may seem pretty obvious today, but back in the mid-1990s, it was a risky play although internet software companies could be established with relatively insignificant capital back then
Sagi understood that the world was starting to move towards internet and online software and that major revenues could be generated from the online world and internet technology. Sagi flipped his money into starting an online gambling software company. However, unlike many of the other firms in the industry that pieced together games and features as revenues came in, Sagi wanted to unleash a top-notch piece of software all at once.
This was a pricey venture; he was hiring only the best engineers and developers, stealing them from other more traditional businesses. The result was one of the most robust platforms that has ever been seen in the space. Not only was the software powerful, but it was also innovative.
There were features, especially in the back office, which no other software could compete with;
The company was well known for their negotiating skills; they knew they had a product that operators wanted, so they were able to charge a significant premium for it.
Not wanting to stop there, Playtech continued to push the development side of the business, adding bingo and poker software to its casino offering. They also started developing games for mobile devices long before the devices would generally be adopted for gaming purposes.
In 2006, Sagi decided it was time to raise some money by taking the company public. When Playtech shares hit the London Stock Exchange, the valuation was a staggering circa $900 million. Sagi had built an empire.
Never resting on his laurels, Sagi kept pushing the envelope with Playtech, adding more and more content including some licensing deals with top movie studios.
As the largest shareholder, Sagi was able to control what the company’s next moves would be. One of them would make Sagi even richer.
While Playtech was growing by leaps and bounds, Sagi used some of his new-found wealth to start another firm, TradeFX. This was a financial trading firm, allowing investors to trade shares in a company without buying them.
Sagi owned 86.5% of this company when Playtech decided they would buy TradeFX to add it to its portfolio for their clients. The sale of TradeFX made Playtech more valuable while also adding about $500 million into Sagi’s pockets.
While this Trade FX deal was taking place, Sagi decided to go back towards his original business roots by scooping up a very lucrative real estate deal. In 2014, he purchased Camden Stables Market for over $500 million. For those of you who don’t recognize that name, just know that Camden Market and the surrounding area is one of the top 5 most visited attractions in London.
Recognizing the value of this area of the city, Sagi has slowly moved his assets into more investments in Camden, including the purchase of Camden Lock and the Buck Street market.
Continuing to leverage his knowledge to improve all his assets, Sagi turned the Camden Market into an online marketplace, allowing those who couldn’t get to the fabulous stores to be able to purchase the products online.
In June 2017, Sagi announced he was selling another 11% stake in Playtech to raise the money to purchase even more of Central London’s iconic properties. This is the first time that Sagi will no longer be the largest shareholder in Playtech; his remaining piece is just under 7% of the company.
Does this mean that Sagi is done with the internet gambling world?
That is hard to say, but it’s safe to say that his desire to be a land owner in London is soaking up a majority of his personal wealth.
Also, let’s not forget that Sagi is the largest shareholder in SafeCharge, an AIM listed payment solutions provider that has been very active in the European payment services space. He is also the main shareholder of a second AIM listed online company called Kape Technologies PLC, an internet securities and digital distribution company
With these assets, Sagi still has his hands in the technology software and fintech industry regardless of what he plans to do with his remaining Playtech shares.
The one thing Sagi hasn’t invested in long-term is a relationship. Often considered one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, Sagi was linked to several high-profile women.
These days, it seems as though he has settled down with Yael Nizri, with whom he has four children.