World Poker Tour Enterprises and Allied Esports are to be acquired from Ourgame International Holdings by Black Ridge Acquisition and merged in a $213.8 million deal.
The combined company will operate as Allied Esports Entertainment (AESE) and focus on providing in-person experiences, multi-platform content and interactive services across poker and video gaming, catering to an audience estimated to be as large as 2.2 billion people.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, with the new business to be listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market Exchange.
The acquirer is a special purpose acquisition company, sponsored by Black Ridge Oil & Gas, and is headquartered in Minnesota. Its director Lyle Berman will become chair of AESE, with Ourgame chief executive Frank Ng taking on the CEO role at the new business.
“In more than 40 years in the gaming and entertainment business, this is the most exciting opportunity I have seen,” Berman said. “The capital from the Black Ridge SPAC will be used to expand AESEs global property network, accelerating their first-mover advantage as the company continues to build a brand that is synonymous with eSports.
Ng will be supported as chief executive by many of the same team he worked with at Ourgame. Eric Yang will serve as vice chairman; Ken DeCubellis as finance chief; David Moon as chief operations officer, and Adam Pliska takes on the role of president.
This transaction will be transformational for our rapidly expanding company and provide the eSports community with a fully capitalized, globally connected eSports enterprise capable of producing the volume and breadth of esports entertainment products the industry is increasingly demanding, Ng said. By applying WPTs proven business model to the much bigger, higher-growth global esports business, we are creating an eSports entertainment platform that is
long-lasting and positioned to capture the esports monetization opportunity.
The new entity will combine Allieds network of properties and facilities with WPTs expertise in live events, content distribution and customer engagement, with a pledge to deliver unparalleled experiences to a global esports audience.
This will include creating original content to share across partner distribution platforms including digital, traditional and social media, as well as developing a proprietary online platform to deliver branded entertainment for participants and viewers globally.