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Billionaire Moelis funds new SPAC with eye on gaming sector


Investment banking billionaire Ken Moelis has founded a new special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Atlas Crest Investment II, which will seek to merge with a business in a range of sectors including sports betting.

Atlas Crest filed a prospectus revealing plans to raise $250m in an initial public offering (IPO), with 25m units – consisting of a share and one third of an exercisable warrant – valued at $10 each.

 It will then attempt to acquire a business in “high growth sectors including media, online gaming/sports betting, fintech/payments, healthcare, business services and disruptive consumer, food and beverage”, allowing that business to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We believe that the experience and capabilities of our management team will make us an attractive partner to potential target businesses, enhance our ability to complete a successful initial business combination and enhance the value of the business post-business combination,” the SPAC’s SEC filing said.

“Additionally, we believe the proprietary sourcing channels and extensive relationship network of our management team and from our affiliation with Moelis, combined with our operating, investing, capital markets and transaction experience, provide us with a competitive advantage.”

The business in question, Atlas Crest said, should fulfill five key criteria. It should be “sourced through [Atlas Crest’s] channels”, have “a committed and capable management team”, “generates stable and growing free cash flow,” would benefit from acquisition by the SPAC and has potential to grow, either through technological advancement or further M&A.

The SPAC currently does not have any specific business as a target and has not engaged in “substantive discussions” about any deal.

The filing added that after the initial combination, it may seek to pursue further mergers and acquisitions.

Moelis – whose investment business, Moelis & Company, brought in revenue of almost $750m in 2019 and helped broker Bally’s integration deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group – will serve as Atlas Crest Investment II’s chairman. Michael Spellacy, Accenture’s senior managing director for capital markets, will be its chief executive and also serve as a director.

“Mr. Moelis is a global leader in the investment banking industry, with almost 40 years of investment banking and mergers and acquisitions experience,” the filing continued.

Atlas Crest said it was sponsored by an “affiliate of Moelis & Company”.

Moelis previously founded another SPAC, just named Atlas Crest Investment, which completed a $500m IPO in October 2020, but has not yet made an acquisition.

Several businesses in the US gambling industry have gone public through SPACs recently. In late 2019, Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp agreed a deal to acquire both DraftKings and SBTech, with the combined business going public in April. Golden Nugget Online Gaming went public on 18 December 2020, after agreeing a deal with Landcadia Holdings II in June.