Playstudios in Negotiations for $1B SPAC-Type Merger Deal

Another SPAC-type merger in the gaming industry is in the making, an article in Bloomberg speculates, reporting that the developer of online social games Playstudios is currently negotiating with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Acies Acquisition Corp.

MGM Resorts Binds Acies and Playstudios

According to people in the know who prefer to remain unidentified due to the private element involved with the ongoing discussions, the SPAC which has as its chairman Jim Murren, former chief executive officer at MGM Resorts International, is in advanced talks with the developer company, for a transaction worth $1 billion or even more.

MGM seems to be the binding link between Playstudios and Acies, as the gaming and hospitality operator is an official partner of the developer and both entities have combined their loyalty programs.

Users of the playAwards loyalty scheme of the social gaming developer can redeem their points for free rooms, meals and other perks, much like players of BetMGM, at more than a dozen MGM properties, among which the Bellagio, Aria, MGM Grand, Luxor and Mandalay Bay.

Murren, who stepped down from the role at MGM in March 2020 and has a non-compete agreement with his former employer running throughout March 2022, teamed up with Edward King and Daniel Fetters, both veterans from Morgan Stanley, and the trio announced it would seek to raise capital through a SPAC and then target a business from the gaming, events or entertainment industries.

In October, their SPAC, Acies Acquisition Corp, managed to raise $215 million through an initial public offering (IPO) and its co-CEOs King and Fetters outlined their target would be from the “experiential entertainment industry”.

Andrew Pascal Involved in Playstudios and the SPAC

A business combination between Acies and Playstudios is looking even more likely considering the role of Playstudios co-founder and CEO Andrew Pascal, who is also a co-founder and adviser at Acies.

The former president of Wynn Las Vegas and Elaine Wynn’s nephew Pascal co-founded Playstudios in 2011 when social casino games were not that popular, but the segment had continued to grow ever since, reaching $7 billion in 2020 globally. Last year, Playstudios generated around $274 million in revenue and ranked 8th in the industry worldwide.

If Acies and Playstudios reach an agreement for a business combination, the games developer would confirm an ongoing trend of SPAC-type mergers in the gaming industry and would join a prominent group of companies such as DraftKings, Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), Rush Street Interactive (RSI) and Genius Sports which went public via the same route.

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