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Social casino operator Playstudios to go public in $1.1bn SPAC deal

3rd February 2021 8:52 am GMT
Playtech

Social casino operator Playstudios has entered into a definitive merger agreement with special purpose acquisition company Acies Acquisition Corp to become a publicly listed company.

The transaction implies an enterprise valuation of $1.1bn for Playstudios, which operates the MyVegas slots app and offers real-world rewards to players from a collection of over 80 partners and 275 entertainment, retail, travel, leisure and gaming brands.

To date, the Playstudios community has used its in-app loyalty points to purchase over 10m rewards with a retail value of nearly $500m.

Following completion of the transaction, Playstudios will continue to be led by founder, chairman and CEO Andrew Pascal, alongside his current founder-led management team. Pascal will also remain a significant equity participant in the company.

“From our inception, we set out to create wonderfully compelling games that were free-to-play and offered real-world rewards,” said Pascal. “We’ve now demonstrated the positive, long-term impact of this value proposition with our current portfolio of apps, and we’re poised to carry that success into new products and new game genres.

“Becoming a public company and securing the resources and support of key institutional investors will enable us to accelerate our growth as we launch new products, pursue new acquisition opportunities, and scale up our unique playAWARDS loyalty program.”

Listed on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange, Acies’ management team is led by chairman Jim Murren, formerly chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, and co-CEOs Dan Fetters and Edward King, formerly managing directors at Morgan Stanley.

“Within today’s vast and growing games market, Playstudios is unique in offering their audience the opportunity to play for fun and earn for real,” said Murren. “They know how to make engaging and enduring games, and stand apart in having harnessed the power of a robust and full-featured loyalty program.

“The focus is now to take Playstudios platform and super-charge its growth. We have abundant initiatives, including targeted, strategic acquisitions; an expansion of the rewards program into new categories such as sports entertainment; and the exploration of opening the playAWARDS platform under a loyalty-as-a-service model. We look forward to leveraging Acies’ M&A knowledge and broad relationships for the benefit of Playstudios and its shareholders.”

Consideration to Playstudios will comprise of at least 89.1m shares of Acies common stock and up to $150m in cash. In addition, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, ClearBridge Investments, Neuberger Berman Funds, and MGM Resorts International are leading participants in the $250m PIPE, at a price of $10.00 per share of common stock of Acies immediately prior to the closing of the transaction.

Following the transaction, the company is expected to have approximately $290m of cash and a public equity currency to accelerate Playstudios’ growth initiatives, which include substantially expanding product development and acquisitions of other gaming and related companies.

The board of directors of both Acies and Playstudios have approved the transaction, which will require the approval of Acies stockholders and is subject to other customary closing conditions, including the receipt of certain regulatory approvals.

The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2021.

Shares in Acies Acquisition Corp. (NSQ:ACAC) closed 3.24 per cent higher at $11.78 per share in New York Tuesday.

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