Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi has given a rare interview to Bizportal, after the website chose him as one of their two businesspeople of the decade. He told Bizportal's Avishai Ovadia what it takes to become a billionaire.
He said, "It's not enough to want to be rich. I recommend to everyone to above all else to do what's good for them, and work in something that they are good at. In addition to that, you have to show initiative. In order to show initiative, I always tell everyone - you have to be a leader, you have to be talented, and you have to have desire. But it is enough to be a leader, the rest you can buy with money."
Sagi made his first billions with online gambling platform Playtech, which he floated in London. He has since sold his entire holding in the company as well online payment clearing company SafeCharge, also traded in London, which he sold last year to Canada's Nuvei for nearly $900 million. He still retains a controlling stake in another tech company publicly traded in London - Kape.
Yet despite an estimated wealth of $4.1 billion, according to Forbes, which ranks him as the sixth most wealthy Israeli, Sagi still feels he has a long way to go. He told Bizportal, "First of all I don't yet feel that I've made it. I think I'm still a young guy, and how do you say it, there is still a long way to go."
Today Sagi focuses more on real estate through his ownership of Camden Market, one of London's most popular tourist attractions, and other London buildings such as Holborn Links. He says that despite Brexit, Camden Market was an excellent deal.
Sagi has also stepped up his investments in Israel in recent years including Layam duty free, which acquired Sakal's operations, and he has the Labs (WeWork style) shared workspace offices in Tel Aviv's Sarona Azrieli tower (which also has outlets in London).
But he is not necessarily committed to bigger investments in Israel. "Everything is a matter of business. If there will be the opportunity to be the head of a large (Israeli) company and if that company, in terms of numbers, will have great potential - then we will invest. We won't buy a company for the sake of buying a company. It's according to opportunities not some great doctrine."
Sagi also hinted in which directions his future investments might be. "I'm a great believer in technology. I think that the entire world of fintech and property tech is beckoning. We will continue to grow our real estate activities with acquisitions or mergers, buying large companies in the field. However, I think that technology is still the leading engine."
Sagi also spoke about his family, "First of all family is the most important thing for me. It may seem from the outside that 100% of my time is involved with the business but the reality is different. I have six children and they should be healthy. I invest a lot of time in the family. We were just now on a two week family vacation.
He added, "My eldest daughter is 14 and the others range from 10 months to six and a half. My family is a great delight and above everything else. My dream is to have ten children. You have to understand that every billionaire is just a person. We - my family - we are simple people. The most important thing is family and health. They like to do their homework with their Mum but I'm the address for entertainment. Games, to go and eat pizza or to Disneyland, or to enjoy things in every way possible - that's for Dad."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 21, 2020
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