US & Canada Take Major Gaming Stakes

Capital Research and TIAA-CREF’s decisions to recently invest in Playtech underscores the US interest in online gaming even amongst US equity funds, even though the majority of listed online gaming companies are outside of the US (Playtech is listed on the London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM)), and by US law, gaming companies cannot operate in the US.  Clearly online gaming is considered an area of significant attractiveness, this fact alone appears to be enough for global investment companies like these US equity funds.

Last week, Playtech notified the London Stock Exchange of Capital Research and Management Company taking a 5.49% stake. Capital Research is a unit of US money manager Capital Group Companies Inc., which has been around for 79 years.  Earlier in the month, Playtech announced TIAA-CREF Investment Management LLC and Teachers Advisors Inc.  acquired a 3.02% holding in the company. TIAA-CREF stands for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund, a huge US equity fund with almost $500 billion in assets under management, managing money for 3.6 million academics, healthcare providers, and employees of NPOs.

These events are not isolated earlier this year the National Lottery operator Camelot was sold to a Canadian teachers’ pension fund for £389m. Camelot, had been owned by a consortium that included Cadbury, and had been running the UK’s National Lottery since it began in 1994. The sale was looked at by the regulator, the National Lottery Commission National Lottery Commission approved the Camelot sale 2010.07.12. One of the factors in its decision was whether or not the national interest would be served by the sale. Camelot’s proposed buyer, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – known simply as Teachers’ – runs the pension fund for more than a quarter of a million Canadian teachers.

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Perfect Storm Capital

Perfect Storm Capital aims to be an accelerator which plans to act like an angel investor, the accelerator will invest small amounts at early stages,  investment  will be targeted at teams and concepts related to on-line gaming.

Companies successful in receiving support typically:

Have a viable addressable market of at least £20m where the accelerator can add unique value.

Have strong, defensible intellectual property.

Are in a position where investment can be meaningful in terms of helping the company progress and get to a stage where they could be attractive to next round angel/VC funding.

Have high risk, disruptive technologies.