Australia-based sports betting operator PlayUp announced this week that it is going public in a SPAC deal valued at $350 million.
PlayUp, whose app offers various products from sports betting to daily fantasy to casino games, is being acquired by IG Acquisition Corp (IGAC) following a strategic review. IGAC expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2023.
PlayUp is already live in Australia, India, and New Zealand. With this pending deal, it aims to grow its presence in the US. It currently offers sports betting in Colorado and New Jersey, and horse racing betting in North Dakota, but says it has market access to 13 more states.
New York-based IGAC is a blank check company, also known as a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It completed an IPO in October 2020, raising around $300 million.
IGAC’s stock price remains level at $10 today since announcing its plans to acquire PlayUp.
What Led to the PlayUp Transaction with IGAC?
PlayUp has had an eventful year, to say the least, since it reportedly was in talks to be acquired for $450 million by cryptocurrency exchange FTX last November. Negotiations regarding a deal with FTX reportedly began in August 2021, but did not yield a transaction.
For anyone counting, the current deal values PlayUp $100 million lower.
In a lawsuit filed last December, PlayUp claimed that former US CEO Dr. Laila Mintas sought to prevent the FTX deal. PlayUp has since filed additional legal action against Mintas, and Mintas countersued.
Bonus contributor Devon Jackson has provided a detailed history of the legal battle between PlayUp and Mintas and the internal conflict leading up to it.
What Is PlayUp’s Plan for US Growth?
Following PlayUp’s deal with IGAC, IGAC Chairman Bradley Tusk will chair the combined company. IGAC CEO Christian Goode will be president of US business. PlayUp Global CEO Daniel Simic will remain in his role.
This year, PlayUp plans to launch sports betting in Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio. Ohio’s market launches on New Year’s Day.
PlayUp also expects to enter the US online casino market via New Jersey.
Also, PlayUp plans to launch an Arizona sportsbook and a Pennsylvania online casino in 2024.
IGAC said in PlayUp’s announcement of the pending deal that it believes:
PlayUp is uniquely positioned to build the first fully integrated technology platform where consumers can engage in broad forms of betting – daily fantasy, sports betting, slots, table games, casino games, Esports, lottery, sweepstakes, and more – from one platform, one account, one digital wallet, anywhere in the world where it’s legal.
IGAC – a SPAC formed and led by Tusk, Goode, and CFO Edward Farrell – lists only its formation, funding, and the pending PlayUp acquisition in the news on its site.