Former JP Morgan banker and co-fonder of Betfair and billionaire behind the luxury group LVMH are to sell about £250m in shares on the betting exchange, this comes just a month after the company had agreed the £6bn merger with Paddy Power.
Edward Wray and family are planning to offload 2.75m shares in the company that he had set-up 16 years ago, recent closing price they are were worth £92.6m. Le Peigne, who manages the money on behalf of LVMH boss, Bernard Arnault and his family, are halving their stake in Betfair, they are selling 4.6m of shares, valued at almost £155m.
The sales of Betfair’s two biggest investors is being done due to the deal to merge with Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power, in order to create what is expected to be one of the world’s largest online gambling companies.
This merger has since sent Betfair’s shares sky rocketing and their stock closed at a record high of £33.67 recently, this is an all-time high, and the two shareholders are now capitalising with the sale.
Mr Wray said that he did not actively been looking to reduce his holding, in fact he wasn’t looking to sell at all. However, he expressed this tie-up with Paddy Power as being "very exciting" and he was cutting his stake because he as approached by Barclays last week who informed him they had a UK institutional investor who was “very keen" to purchase Betfair stock. As a result he was given an opportunity to diversify his investments.
He continued that this was just portfolio management for him, and that most of my net worth was tied up in Betfair.
When Mr. Wray, founded Betfair during 1999 together with former professional gambler Andrew Black, he held approximately 11.6m shares, but he has since trimmed the stake down to 8.9m, approximately 9.5% of the company.
The recent disposal has left Mr Wray and family with approximately 6.1m shares and do not intend to sell any more shares for 90 days.
Le Peigne also held a large stake in Betfair prior to its stock market float five years ago, this weeks shares sale he will retain just under 4m shares, and he is also subject to the 90-day lock-up agreement.