Playstudios to Go Public via $1.1bn Merger With SPAC Founded by Former MGM CEO

A billion-dollar move

Mobile games developer Playstudios Inc. plans to go public after announcing an agreed merger with Acies Acquisition, a special-purpose acquisition company founded last year.

Las Vegas-based Playstudios, a company backed by MGM Resorts International, announced the merger in a Monday statement. The transaction values the mobile games developer at approximately $1.1bn. The merger will see the combined business listed on Nasdaq under the symbol ‘MYPS’. It will continue to bear the Playstudios name.

Andrew Pascal will stay on to lead the merged company

Bloomberg first reported on talks between the two companies last week. Acies Acquisition’s chairperson is Jim Murren, who founded the SPAC last year after stepping down as CEO of MGM Resorts. Current Playstudios chief executive Andrew Pascal will stay on to lead the merged company.

The board of directors for both companies have approved the transaction. However, the merger still requires the approval of Acies Acquisition stockholders, among other closing conditions. Playstudios said it expects the deal to close in Q2 2021.

Further details of the deal

The $1.1bn transaction fee represents around 2.5 times Playstudios’ projected 2022 revenue of $435m. Through the merger, shareholders in the mobile games developer will receive $150m in cash. They will own around 64% of the new combined company’s shares.

Playstudios is a developer and operator of free-to-play casual games for mobile and social platforms. The company offers a PlayAwards loyalty program, through which players can earn real-world rewards from entertainment, retail, technology and gaming brands. Last year, the company generated around $274m in revenue.

The newly merged company will also receive a fresh round of investment from several companies. This includes BlackRock, ClearBridge Investments, Neuberger Berman Funds, and MGM Resorts. The companies agreed on an investment of $250m, which will increase Playstudios’ cash and public equity to $290m.

Commenting on the deal, Playstudios CEO Andrew Pascal said the company could now secure “the resources and support of key institutional investors” for accelerated progress. Meanwhile, Jim Murren, said he aimed to “super-charge” the growth of the Playstudios platform.

An expansive partnership

Playstudios and MGM Resorts first formed their partnership in 2012. As a result, players of Playstudios’ free-to-play games can redeem rewards at a number of MGM-owned gambling properties and hotels.

Last week, Playstudios and the US-based casino operator announced a further expansion to their partnership. It saw MGM Springfield become the 17th of the company’s properties to offer in-app rewards for Playstudios games. The developer shared the news on its Twitter page:

Playstudios chief executive Pascal said the introduction of the Massachusetts-based property was an “important extension of a partnership that has been very successful” for both companies. The CEO also noted the eighth anniversary of the pair’s partnership, describing their relationship as “stronger than ever.”

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