Murren Back in SPAC Lab, Files Plans for Acies Acquisition II
Fresh off success with his first special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), former MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren is lining up a second blank-check firm.Former MGM CEO Jim Murren. He’s leading another blank-check company hunting for gaming deals. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Feb. 23 S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveals plans for Acies Acquisition II. Acies is the name of the first SPAC created by Murren and his partners. The sequel is planning an initial public offering (IPO) valued at $250 million (25 million units at $10 apiece), according to the regulatory document. The units will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker “ATWOU.”
As is the case with all new blank-check filings, Acies II is careful to note that it hasn’t yet identified a merger partner and that such a deal may not materialize. SPACs usually have two years to execute a deal or face forced liquidation. It is, however, clear where the new special purpose vehicle will focus its efforts to locate a partner.
We are focused on identifying a business combination target within the live, location-based, and mobile experiential entertainment industries,” according to the S-1. “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 US, however our search may expand to international markets.”
Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports (owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals), and Red Sox and Fenway Sports CEO Sam Kennedy join Murren on the Acies II board. They were on the board of the original Acies. The new SPAC will also be advised by Charlotte Hornets managing partner Curtis Polk who also runs the personal finances of team owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Acies Looking for Successful Sequel
Acies Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:ACAC) was the first SPAC Murren was directly involved with following his departure from MGM and it’s proving to be a fruitful endeavor.
Earlier this month, the blank-check company said it’s merging with social casino developer Playstudios, Inc. in a transaction valuing the target at $1.1 billion. Murren and his Acies partners didn’t have to look far to get that deal done because MGM is one of Playstudios’ backers.
With mobile gaming and sports wagering booming, small and mid-sized companies in those industries need capital and are looking to go public in an efficient manner — outlets SPACs can provide.
“Mobile gaming and real money wagering companies, comprising sports betting and online gaming companies (both consumer-facing operators as well as the business-to-business platforms that support them) are experiencing rapid growth driven by strong consumer demand, popularity of mobile as a platform, and a conducive regulatory backdrop,” said Acies II in its SEC filing. “According to Eilers & Krejcik, the emerging US real-money wagering industry is expected to become a $40 billion industry—assuming legalization in all 50 states—from essentially zero three years ago.”
Fierce Competition for Deals
Dozens of blank-check companies mention sports-related businesses, betting and otherwise, as potential targets. The number of SPACs looking for other gaming assets, be it iGaming, social casinos, and more, is exponentially higher.
That says Acies II will face plenty of competition should it opt for another deal in the gaming arena.
For investors, the encouraging sign is that a Murren-led SPAC already executed a deal and did so rather quickly, perhaps indicating Aciess II shareholders won’t be waiting long for a transaction to be announced.
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