Teddy Sagi exercises his Midas touch again

Tali Tsipori

Sagi has always known when to buy, when to hold public offerings, and when to sell.

Timing is everything

In the business career of Crossrider controlling shareholder Teddy Sagi, one of Israel's few billionaires, there is one constant theme: timing, timing, and more timing. They say that timing is everything in life, and Sagi has already earned a doctorate in the subject. He has always known when to buy, when to hold public offerings, and when to sell. Every IPO, acquisition, (of a business or shares that later turned out to be at a low point), or sale (mainly of shares trading at a peak) was done at the very best time for him. That is how it was with the IPO of Playtech Cyprus Ltd. (LSE:PTEC), and later of SafeCharge International Group plc (AIM: SAFE). He invested in Playtech when the share had fallen to a low point. That is how it was with his investment in B Communications (the controlling shareholder in Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ)), and that is how it may well be with the Crossrider IPO. The capital markets are red hot, and the market in which Crossrider operates is apparently even hotter (see the value of Israeli companies Matomy Media Group (LSE:MTMY) and Marimedia (in their offerings). Sagi strikes when the iron is hot. Who knows how many times he has done it? We have stopped counting.

One and one is more than two

Another of Sagi's abilities, which is also reflected in a large part of his business, is successfully combining young activities in the same sphere to create a single company whose broad range of activity gives it a competitive edge and helps it become a global leader in its sector. Playtech, a monster that is already worth $3.5 billion, is actually the product of a merger between activities acquired during its life (some from Sagi himself); SafeCharge came from the merger of a number of credit card clearance activities; and Crossrider is a merger of three very young Israeli companies. In all three of these cases, Sagi proved that one and one is far more than two.

A billion dollars less, a billion dollars more

Sagi frequently tells those around him that he is worth far more than what the financial press says. He may be right. The financial press (including this writer) takes mainly a person's public assets into account when estimating his wealth. On the other hand, it could also be that Sagi is going overboard somewhat with his evaluations. One thing, however, can be said with certainty: every offering by a company under his control, including Crossrider, removes another layer of mystery surrounding the value of Sagi's bank account. He is only 42, but he is worth at least $4 billion. How much is "at least $4 billion"? Ask Sagi.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 31, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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