MGM-Backed Playstudios Agrees to $1.1 Billion SPAC Deal

Playstudios Inc., an online game operator backed by casino giant MGM Resorts International, is going public via a $1.1 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition company.

The Las Vegas-based business, which offers free-to-play online blackjack and slot-machine games, said Monday it’s combining with Acies Acquisition Corp., a shell company founded last year. Acies’s chairman is Jim Murren, former chief executive officer of MGM. Bloomberg News reported on talks between the parties last week.

Playstudios’ founder and CEO, Andrew Pascal, will continue in that role with the new company. Playstudios shareholders will receive $150 million in cash and own about 64% of the shares of the new entity.

Institutional investors are putting $250 million into the business. Those investors include BlackRock Inc., Neuberger Berman Funds and MGM Resorts, which offers perks like free rooms to Playstudios players to build loyalty. MGM will own about 10% after its additional investment.

As with most social online games, customers can opt to purchase an in-game currency to continue playing and reach higher levels. Playstudios’ twist is that they simultaneous earn points in the company’s own loyalty program, which can be traded in for real-world prizes like tickets to shows or discounted meals.

The company plans to release a prerecorded investor presentation on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. New York time.

In an interview, Pascal, 55, said he’ll use the money raised through offering to grow the business.

“We’ll now have the currency and capital to go acquire other companies and games,” he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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