Troubled City trading firm Plus500 is in the middle of overhauling its money laundering regulations under orders from the regulator, re-checking the identity of every customer at its UK business and selling the company.
But management have somehow found the time to step up a sponsorship deal with Spanish football team Atlético Madrid.
Plus500’s name currently appears on the back of Atlético Madrid’s kit but the company announced today that it will be the main shirt sponsor for the next two seasons, which means its name will appear on the front of the kit and Atlético’s Champion’s League kit.
Plus500 didn’t say how much the sponsorship deal will cost but it will likely be in the millions. Industry sources estimated that the back of the shirt deal alone could be worth up to €1.5 million (£1.07 million).
The deal comes in the middle of a regulatory crisis for Plus500 and a sale of the business. Plus500’s share price went into free fall last month after the UK’s regulator told the company its anti-money laundering checks weren’t up to scratch.
The Israeli-headquartered company lets ordinary people make risky, leveraged bets on stocks and currencies through something called a contract for difference (CFD). It wasn’t doing enough to ensure the money being put down wasn’t from the proceeds of crime.
Gambling software company Playtech swooped in with a low-ball bid at the start of the month. The fellow Israeli company is offering £459.6 million ($US702.05 million) for Plus500, almost half the £862 million ($US1.3 billion) Plus500 was worth before the crisis blew up.
Plus500’s CEO Gal Haber says in a statement this morning: “Atlético Madrid is a natural fit for us as Europe is our largest customer base, and we share with them a passion for striving for success whilst having an ethos of transparency and respect for our customers, fans, partners and employees.
“In addition, this partnership with one of the most successful clubs in Europe that plays in one of the most popular leagues in the world will help us in furthering our strategy of increasing our brand recognition and expanding our customer base globally.”
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