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Jason Ader launches new SPAC targeting gaming acquisitions


26 Capital Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) founded by activist investor Jason Ader, will list on the Nasdaq today (15 January) following an initial public offering. 

The company intends to purchase a privately held gaming, branded consumer, hospitality or e-commerce business, following an IPO to sell 24m units at $10.00 apiece.

Ader will serve as 26 Capital Acquisition Corp’s chief executive, while John Lewis – who is currently chief financial officer at Ader’s SpringOwl Asset Management business – will hold the same position with the SPAC.

SpringOwl has previously invested in a number of gaming businesses including Las Vegas Sands, IGT, Playtech and Bwin.Party before it was purchased by GVC, a deal in which Ader played a role.

The investment fund has gained a reputation for driving change within the businesses in backs, cementing Ader’s own reputation as an activist investor.

“SpringOwl’s and its predecessor’s investment team have developed extensive experience working with management teams of public companies, across market capitalizations and industries, in order to unlock stockholder value,” 26 Capital’s prospectus said.

“Over the past eight years, SpringOwl’s team has been actively involved with dozens of public companies and has developed an extensive network of operators and advisors with whom it works.”

The opportunities SpringOwl has pursued in the past, the prospectus explained, focused on public businesses in need of transformation. It has worked with these businesses to effect changes through operational improvements, changes in strategic focus, improved execution, enhanced corporate governance and by providing additional capital.

This, in turn, would inform 26 Capital’s strategy. It would look to acquire a business that may be underperforming, which has “significant potential for improvement through enhanced management efforts”.

The 24m units consist of one common share and one warrant to purchase a share at a price of $11.50.

The offering is set to close on 20 January. Investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald will act as book running manager.

Ader’s venture is the latest in a long list of SPACs connected to the gaming industry in recent years. In late 2019, DraftKings and SBTech merged and went public through such a company. Other businesses to go public through a SPAC acquisition include Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Rush Street Interactive and lottery broker and information portal

Last week, billionaire investor Ken Moelis – founder of Moelis & Company – founded a new SPAC targeting a business in one of a range of sectors, including sports betting.

In October 2020, Tekkorp Digital Acquisition Corporation, formed by a host of leading igaming and social media executives, began trading on the NASDAQ. The SPAC said it was targeting deals for private businesses in the digital media, sports, entertainment, leisure and gaming industries.