Vitasoy heiress builds multi-million pound stake in Playtech...
Karen Lo has been buying a multi-million pound stake in Playtech, the online gaming software group currently at the centre of a complex three-way takeover tussle.
She is just the latest in a string of colourful characters, many of them eminating from the Far East, who have been buying shares in Playtech well above the recommended 680p a share offer from Aristocrat, an Australian gaming group.
Lo, who is a multi-millionaire (possibly billionaire) member of the family behind Hong Kong-listed food giant Vitasoy, now owns around 4.5pc Playtech through her Future Capital Group and has been paying up to 770p a share for the stock.
That move has caused a lot of head scratching among those involved in the situation, especially as she isn't the only one acquiring the shares in decent size. As things stand at the moment, Lo will lose a substantial amount on her investment if the Aristocrat deal goes through.
Other Far Eastern players that have recently turned up on the register include: a high stakes poker player and former owner of Wigan Athletic Football Club Stanley Choi; Tang Hao, who was in an investor in Stars Group and a Betaville favourite Telit Communications; and Paul Suen, a Chinese businessman who now owns Birmingham Football Club and Les Ambassadeurs casino.
One of the biggest Hong Kong-based investors in Playtech is Gopher, which has been trying to buy Playtech's financial trading division Finalto for $250 million. Gopher is controlled by TT Bond Partners, an investment group led by former Goldman Sachs banker Teresa Teague and John Bond, the son of Sir John Bond, the former chairman of HSBC.
Following Aristocrat's bid Gopher made an offer for the whole of Playtech but then backed out (although it reserves the right to come back with a higher offer etc etc).
Meanwhile, a third (potential) bidder has turned up - JKO Play, which appears to be a consortium fronted by former F1 boss Eddie Jourdan and backed by US vulture fund Centrebridge.
I'm sure Betaville's smart readers can see the consistent themes here among this clutch of characters above as many of them are believed to be involved with Playtech's unregulated business in Asia, which the Aussies plans to get rid off.
So, if you need me to spell it out for you: there are plenty of wealthy punters playing metaphorical poker with Playtech.....