Last week, one of the co-founders of gambling giant 888 Holdings sold shares worth almost £60 million, prompting much discussion among investors and across the gambling industry.
Brothers Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak founded the company with Avi and Ahron Shaked in 1997, and it is the former who have taken their holdings in the company from approximately 37.1 million shares down to approximately 9.3 million shares, netting them close to £60 million.
The shares were owned by the “Ben-Yitzhak Family Shares Trust.” The Shaked family collectively holdings 48.2% of 888 Holdings, a figure split evenly among Avi and his late brother’s children.
Although the 888 Holdings share price initially fell by 3.27% to 214.75 pence per share upon the news of the sale being released to the stock market, it has since stabilised and now risen to 218.25p at time of writing.
While some investors seemed panicked by the news, it appears that the majority have looked at past history and decided that those who panic sold did not need to.
Back in 2007, Ron Ben-Yitzhak sold 13.6 million shares, from a holding of 57.5 million, for a price in the low-to-mid 100p range. When William Hill enquired about a possible takeover in 2015, an offer of 200p per share was touted, yet a key shareholder in 888, believed to be Avi Shaked, rejected the offer and asked for 300p per share, a valuation the William Hill board were not prepared to meet.
The reason for this latest share sale could simply be the fact the Ben-Yitzhak brothers were waiting for the share price to climb north of 200p per share before cashing in on their substantial investment seeing how they seemed happy to accept 200p per share offered by William Hill.
The truth is that we may never know because the Ben-Yitzhak brothers are private characters who tend to shy away from the limelight. Their holding in 888 is still worth more than £20 million, and could easily double in value again over the next few years judging by how 888 continue to release impressive trading figures.