2nd SPAC Led by Ex-MGM CEO Jim Murren Seeks to Raise $250M
Jim Murren, the former CEO of MGM Resorts International, has put together another SPAC that will target a wide range of entertainment and hospitality businesses, including iGaming and sports betting companies.
SPAC stands for special purpose acquisition company, often known as blank check companies. Although they’ve gone through the SEC procedure for become publicly traded, SPACs often have no goods or services of their own but are armed with capital that they use to acquire private companies in friendly combinations. The new Murren SPAC — Acies Acquisition Corp. II (“ATWOU” intended to be listed on the NASDAQ) — filed its SEC registration on Feb. 22. The SPAC hope to raise $250 million to pursue a target acquisition.
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In its SEC registration, Acies Acquisition II said: “We are focused on identifying a business combination target within the live, location-based and mobile experiential entertainment industries. Specific sectors that we will target span live events, family entertainment, casino gaming, destination hospitality, sports, sports betting and iGaming. We will pursue both consumer-facing operators as well as the business-to-business platforms that support them. We are predominantly focused on the U.S. however our search may expand to international markets.”
In late January, Murren’s first SPAC, Acies Acquisition Corp., was successful in coming to agreement with a target, PlayStudios, Inc. PlayStudios is led by a veteran Las Vegas executive, Andrew Pascal. PlayStudios’ current model was described as a “developer of free-to-play casual games for mobile and social platforms that offer real-world rewards to loyal players.”
The most recent Murren SPAC includes some interesting names on its roster of directors. In addition to Murren, who is listed as the company’s chairman, the Acies II lineup includes, in part: Zach Leonsis, board director and also a director with Acies I, who has been the senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Monumental Sports & Entertainment (owner of the NBA Washington Wizards and NHL Washington Capitals); Sam Kennedy, board director and also a director of Acies I, who is president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox; and Curtis Polk, adviser to the board, who is managing partner of Hornets Sports & Entertainment and who manages the financial and business affairs of Michael Jordan.
SPACs are Used More Often
Once a novelty Wall Street maneuver, SPACs have become more common over the last year, especially in the online gaming, gambling, hospitality and digital entertainment industries.
Using a SPAC, rather than as an initial public offering, to enter the public markets became especially popular in 2020-21 with several gaming companies, such as DraftKings Casino, Rush Street Interactive, Genius Sports Group, Golden Nugget Online and Golden Nugget/Landry’s, all becoming publicly traded.
Some SPACs have even been assembled with the goal of acquiring pro sports teams. The SPAC route has been described as less expensive and more efficient than an IPO in some cases.
Canadian-based Score Media and Gaming Inc. announced Monday it is launching a public offering of theScore’s Class A Subordinate Voting Shares in the United States and Canada. It’s theScore’s first public offering in the U.S. market.
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