Shaq is launching a SPAC, digital fitness revenue continues to grow, the new electric Hummer will include Epic Games’ Unreal Engine software, and sports betting is growing globally too.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
As more groups look to raise money and list a company publicly without having to file for an IPO, a big player has entered the special purpose acquisition company arena. Shaquille O’Neal has launched a SPAC, along with one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s sons and three former Walt Disney Co. executives.
Forest Road Acquisition Corp. will look to raise $250 million for acquisitions in media and technology. Shaq was specifically mentioned in the SEC filing as having a “keen eye for investing in successful ventures.”
DraftKings used a SPAC to go public in April, and fellow betting company Rush Street Interactive is reportedly looking to do the same. Last year, Allied Esports went public through a SPAC deal as well. SPACs have raised more than $40 billion this year, compared to $13.5 billion in 2019.
SPACs Looking At Sports & Entertainment:
RedBall Acquisition — $575 million
Ascendant Digital Acquisition Corp. — $414 million
Acies Acquisition Corp. — $300 million
Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Corp. — $300 million
Apple, USA TODAY via Imagn
Global digital fitness revenue is expected to reach $22.5 billion this year, a 30.9% increase year-over-year. New devices and wearable fitness products — along with fitness and nutrition apps — are driving the growth.
Consumers have flocked away from physical gyms because of COVID-19 concerns that began when gyms shutdown in March. As consumers settle into these new fitness routines, up to 25% of gyms could close by the end of the year without congressional aid — only furthering this at-home trend.
A congressional package could be on the way as a bipartisan $40 billion recovery bill was introduced earlier this month. The gym industry lost $13.9 billion in revenue from March to September.
Hyperice recently raised $47.8 million at a $700 million valuation, with investors like the NBA, pro athletes and more.
Denver-based artificial intelligence fitness startup Exer Labs has raised $2 million — building on $2.5 million raised last year.
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Epic Games is hitting the road with the Hummer EV. Unreal Engine — which is the game engine for Fortnite — will power the interface for GMC’s all-electric Hummer that is set to be unveiled on Oct. 20.
A piece of the integration of Unreal Engine into cars is “based on a prediction that autonomous vehicles will one day make the act of driving less important than the activities you can do in the car.” An example presented includes games exclusive to an automaker’s user.
In August, Epic Games was valued at $17.4 billion following a $1.78 billion fundraise, which included a $250 million investment from Sony. The company is also in a legal battle against Apple’s App store rules — the trial will begin next summer.
Riot Games announced it’s closing its office in Sydney, and shutting down the League of Legends Oceanic Pro League for “not meeting goals.”
Activision Blizzard is closing its French office.
Global Betting Outlook
Eric Seals-Detroit Free Press via Imagn
As the U.S. sports betting market surges with the glut of sports the past two months, the industry’s global clout has also grown. U.K.-based GVC Holdings — MGM’s partner in BetMGM — reported a 12% net gaming revenue increase in the third quarter.
GVC expects BetMGM to drive a full-year revenue of $150 million to $160 million. As BetMGM continues to work to gain a foothold in the growing U.S. market, the British company expects a full-year operating loss of $77.6 million.
The U.S. isn’t the only growing market GVC is betting on, as it reached an agreement to acquire Portugal-based Bet.pt. GVC expects the Portuguese market to double by 2023 to $529.5 million.
DraftKing announced it will sell 32 million shares at $52 each, with the company expected to raise $830 million. Shares have dropped 10% since the announcement, with DraftKings trading at $51.
BetMGM partnered with AGS Partners to roll out casino games for its app platforms.
Simplebet and Intralot are partnering to launch in-play, real money micro-betting in betting apps.
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