Wednesday April 1,2015 : SAGI'S LATEST VENTURE POWERS ON
Safecharge to spend up to $100 million on acquisitions.
Online gambling entrepreneur Teddy Sagi has big plans for his newest venture, online payment service provider SafeCharge, which has announced that it plans to make an acquisition of $100 million or more this year to expand its client base, and if necessary will raise money to do so.
CEO David Avgi told the Reuters news agency Tuesday that the company has $125 million in cash and a pipeline of opportunities in Europe and Asia.
"I believe we will look for companies similar to SafeCharge's core business," Avgi said, adding he was seeking new clients in diverse geographical markets and industries. "I'm looking to buy a book of clients and migrate them to SafeCharge's platform."
Reuters says that for the right deal, SafeCharge will consider raising funds through bonds or equity, which would likely dilute the 66 percent stake held by Sagi, the founder of online gaming technology firm Playtech and backer of Market Tech Holdings, the owner of London's Camden Market.
SafeCharge clients include Ladbrokes, games developer Gaijin and foreign currency broker FXDD.
Numis Securities analyst Trevor Jones says that SafeCharge offers "a more comprehensive, international service than many of its much larger competitors," and feels that it has "tremendous" potential for growth.
Registered in Guernsey with research and development centres in Israel, Bulgaria and Ireland, SafeCharge went public on London's AIM market in April last year at GBP1.62 per share. The share price was unchanged at 255 pence on Tuesday, giving the company a market valuation of $600 million.
In December, SafeCharge paid Euros 14.5 million for Ireland's 3V, which will provide the technology for a prepaid card issuing service which SafeCharge plans to launch this year . Its $8 million acquisition of Israel's CreditGuard, with customers like El Al, has given SafeCharge entry into the travel, telecom and energy markets.
SafeCharge's revenue rose 78 percent last year to $76.9 million while adjusted net profit was up 122 percent at $21.3 million.