Tang Hao, a previously unseen investor, has become the largest individual shareholder of The Stars Group (TSG), a Canadian iGaming company, following a year-long succession of discrete share purchases. Now, with the purchase of 26,455,200 common shares through his company, Discovery Key Investments Limited (DKIL), the Japanese industrialist is on his way to joining the TSG board of directors. DKIL is now the second-largest shareholder of TSG common shares (behind Caledonia Investments, which holds 29,353,153 shares) after acquiring 17.9% of The Stars Group. Since Hao is the sole owner of DKIL, he holds the greatest number of TSG shares. Hao has appointed Melvin Yanmin Zhang, an experienced entertainment industry executive, to represent his interests as an observer member of the TSG board, per the agreement between DKIL and TSG. As soon as Hao and Zhang receive approval for the necessary licenses, they will both become full directors.
Previous Investment Proposals for TSG
It is conceivable that this is not Hao’s first attempt to acquire a stake in PokerStars, the largest online poker operator in the world. In 2016, while serving as the CEO of Goldenway Capital, a man named Hao Tang supported the now-disgraced former PokerStars CEO David Baazov’s quest to acquire the company, then known as Amaya Gaming. There is speculation that Hao Tung and Tung Hao are the same individual. Unfortunately for Tang and Baazov, The Stars Group’s investors opposed Baazov’s involvement and renegotiated contracts to penalize PokerStars if Baazov acquired any shares in the company. As a consequence, the transaction failed, and Golden Way Capital’s access via Baazov was cut off permanently. If Hao Tung and Tung Hao are the same person, it appears that Hao/Tung was unfazed by the failed transaction and remained determined to secure his current victory.
A Potential TSG Acquisition
Some are concerned that Tao’s rumored alliance with Baazov will continue, which could lead to a complete takeover. However, TSG executives are confident that there is no evidence of Baazov’s participation in this new agreement. DKIL will not be able to acquire more than 20% of outstanding common shares prior to the 2020 annual general meeting without a board-approved negotiated transaction or formal takeover proposal, according to the board.