Former MGM CEO Mulls New Gaming & Entertainment Projects

Former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren is pursuing potential deals in online gaming, live events and other entertainment-related businesses, according to a Bloomberg report. Murren, who led the casino company for more than a decade before stepping down in March teamed up with Edward King and Daniel Fetters, both Morgan Stanley veterans, in search of new business opportunities.

Raising Capital Through a SPAC IPO

The trio is reportedly looking to raise $300 million through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and according to people with knowledge in the matter, have already held preliminary talks with potential underwriters. The SPAC initial public offering (IPO) is expected to occur in the coming months.

Jim Murren, who used to be a Wall Street analyst earlier in his career, explained that the discussions are at an early stage and there are several options they are exploring. The trio can potentially partner with institutional investors or buy a small company and build it through acquisitions. A former Wynn Resorts executive, Andrew Pascal, is looking to join the trio but his participation in any future endeavors is far from certain and may not happen.

Murren’s Impeccable Track Record Will Attract Investors

Murren is hoping his track record would help their cause by making an IPO stand out in an already crowded field of SPACs. He stepped down as CEO of MGM in March, after being at the helm since 2008 and helping create into reality projects like the $9.2 billion CityCenter, as well as other casinos in Macau, Massachusetts and Maryland. His stepping down from the leadership position at MGM Resorts was before his contract expiry as it was set to run until 2021.

According to a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the former CEO of MGM is set to collect nearly $32 million in bonuses, stock, salary, consultation fees and severance. The consultation services he will provide for the company he had ran for 12 years, will run throughout 2021 and will account for $575,000 per month. In addition, Jim Murren agreed to uphold a non-competition agreement for one year after his period as an MGM consultant ends, and will work as a senior adviser until the end of 2020.

Jim Murren, among his other achievements, was behind MGM’s online business launch and positioning of the company into broader entertainment with the T-Mobile Arena. He was also the one who repositioned the casino operator by making it asset light after selling or spinning off most of its real estate and properties.

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