Over the last five years, the company that operates the World Poker Tour, bwin.party Digital Entertainment, has seen its stock price cut in half. Meanwhile, the London Stock Exchange, where the company has listed, has climbed by more than half.
Not a good look.
That makes this $US1.6 billion market cap U.K company — which also has businesses ranging from casino games, to sports, betting, to poker — a very attractive target for hedge funds that happen to play the very-American activist investing game.
In this case it’s Jason Ader and Andrew Wallach of SpringOwl Asset Management taking up the challenge. They own 5.25% of the company’s stock and Ader has a long history in then gaming world. He made his name as a star analyst in the sector at Bear Stearns, and he sits on the board of Las Vegas Sands.
All he and Wallach want are four seats on the board. That’s it.
“SpringOwl has made numerous attempts to work with the incumbent Board of BPTY to facilitate a reconstitution of the Board to ensure accountability to shareholders. Unfortunately, the incumbent Board has chosen to seek to maintain the status quo. We believe shareholders have become disillusioned by ongoing declines in business metrics as the Board approves incremental equity grants,” said Ader.
Think of this like a reverse British Invasion. Forty per cent of bwin.party’s stock is held by American investors, anyway.
“At the end of the day we want to surround this management team with a board… that’s going to hold them accountable for underperformance,” Ader told Business Insider.
We’ll be following this to see how it all shakes out. In the meantime, check out the descriptions of the four proposed board members below.