Big Windfall: British Billionaire Brothers Sell Up $658 Million in Evolution Gaming stocks
This week, leading Evolution Gaming shareholder and multi-billionaire investor Richard Livingstone put about a quarter of his 16% stake in the company up for sale.
The 8.5 million shares are valued at around $658 million. Evolution, the world’s foremost live casino developer, has seen its share price rocket since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rise in profits and share prices comes as companies and players increasingly turn to online gaming when traditional venues are closed or considered unsafe.
Just three months back, Evolution shares were trading at 436 SEK ($49) per piece. Today, they sit at 640 SEK ($72.37) after a high of 692 SEK a few weeks ago.
Shares in the company debuted at just 80 SEK back in 2015. That record shows that Evolution has been one of the gambling sector’s biggest success stories of recent years.
From humble beginnings, the company has become the undisputed market-leading live casino supplier across nearly all global markets. It has inked promotional deals with some huge global brands, including Monopoly, Deal or No Deal, and various big-time US casino operations.
Only last month, we reported on Evolution’s takeover of rival Swedish slots developer NetEnt. That deal was worth nearly $2 billion—a figure that would make even the Livingstone brothers think twice.
Richard Livingstone and his older brother Ian have been described by The Times newspaper as “the most secretive siblings” and two of the “lowest profile billionaires in London.”
It is estimated that between them, they have a nearly £4 billion ($5.08 billion) fortune. They are mostly known for property development and hotelkeeping in London and other international hubs. So, many saw their investment in Evolution as a surprise.
However, so far, it seems like an extremely shrewd choice. Share prices at Evolution have gone up by nearly a power of ten in just over four years since they first floated on the Swedish Nasdaq. They continued to rise this year, seeing 140% gains on their price in July 2019.
The company has consistently made millions in profits every year. Profits were even up 98% on the same quarter last year despite the coronavirus pandemic upsetting the economic apple cart all over the world.
Clearly, the Livingstones thought this would be a good time to cash out on some of that investment.
Their $650 million stake will be sold through renowned investment bank and New-York-based financial services broker Morgan Stanley, according to Bloomberg.
This sale will mark one of the brothers’ fastest turn of profits in their career—before this foray into online gambling, they usually stuck to long-term property. Although they own some properties that are rented out and operated by casinos, Evolution Gaming was their first direct gambling investment.
Both brothers were born in London, UK, in the 1980s. Richard trained as a chartered surveyor, and Ian studied to be an optometrist. This led them to start their own opticians’ chain, which then bought up local competitors.
They never looked back from there, and some 40 years later, they are two of the biggest investors in one of the world’s biggest gambling success stories.
Evolution Gaming (and, by extension, the Livingstone brothers) has profited from a timely investment in the slowly-legalizing US market. It has snapped up exclusive live casino provider deals with big names like Golden Nugget, Caesars, and many more.