Red Sox, Monumental, Hornets Executives in New Sports SPAC

Brendan Coffey
·2 min read

With its first blank check set to close a deal bringing mobile game maker Playstudios public, the team behind Acies Acquisition has filed for a second SPAC today, Acies Acquisition II. The targets: “live events, family entertainment, casino gaming, destination hospitality, sports, sports betting and iGaming,” according to its prospectus, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Acies II wants to raise $250 million in its initial public offering. Like the first Acies, Cirque du Soleil’s board co-chairman and former MGM Resorts chief James Murren is chairman, with Zach Leonsis of Monumental Sports (owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals), and Red Sox and Fenway Sports CEO Sam Kennedy among its board of directors. Joining this SPAC as one of two advisors is Curtis Polk, the managing partner of Hornets Sports & Entertainment and the manager of Michael Jordan’s financial affairs.

The business thesis for Acies II is that “experiential entertainment, consumed through live, location-based venues or played across mobile platforms, has become a prime pursuit of American consumers,” the company stated in its filing, noting that consumer spending on entertainment is lapping general expenditure growth over the past three decades. Live, location-based events and mobile entertainment are two specific areas Acies II discusses in its prospectus.

The first Acies raised $200 million in an IPO for sports-related or gaming business. On Feb. 1, it announced a deal to take Playstudios public. Playstudios makes mobile games, primarily gambling themed, supported by a robust player loyalty program. The transaction values Playstudios at $1.1 billion and includes $250 million in addition institutional financing pledged to bring the deal to a close, expected sometime this spring.

Daniel Fetters and Edward King reprise their SPAC roles as co-CEOs in Acies II. They are veterans of investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Rounding out the executive team is Christopher Grove, a partner at sports betting researcher Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, as executive vice president. Leonsis and Kennedy are half of the four-member independent board of directors, with two other Acies I directors.

Acies II expects to sell 25 million units at $10 a piece, consisting of one share and one-fourth of a warrant, redeemable for one share at $11.50. If the IPO is successful, the SPAC will have 24 months to make a deal, or return money to shareholders. There are more than 100 blank check businesses involving sports figures, and more than 30 that specify sports-related businesses as their intended targets.

An email to Acies for comment wasn’t immediately returned.

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