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FaZe Clan goes public in $725 million SPAC

Earlier this week, FaZe Clan stock began trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ‘FAZE’ after a blockbuster $725 million SPAC merger.

FaZe Clan is an online media company, consisting primarily of esports competitors and content creators.

The history of FaZe Clan is quite peculiar.

FaZe originated in 2010 as little more than a group of friends playing the first-person shooter Call of Duty. Since then, Faze has morphed into a full-fledged content studio, talent management agency, and e-commerce business with a fan base of roughly 500 million—80% of them between the ages of 13 and 34—across various digital platforms. It’s also attracted high-profile investors, such as professional athletes, and has cemented partnerships with large brands like McDonalds, Nissan, and MoonPay. FaZe Clan plans to bring on more creators and help them grow their own community, an alternative to reliance on advertising revenue from existing social media brands.

“FaZe Clan will fund investments and we will create the product and we'll own a bigger piece of the upside. That's the future of the creator economy," said Lee Trink, CEO of Faze Clan.

The creator economy is a growing force in the markets. The global market size is estimated to be over $13 billion, according to Statista, and is primarily focused on a younger generation.

On the first day of trading, FaZe Clan fell -24%, although managed to gain back 4% during the after-hours trading session. While this may not be the ideal first day of trading, many other planned SPAC deals remain on hold or have been completely canceled altogether.

FaZe Clan is not the only company in the space attempting to capitalize on the proliferation of the creator economy.

X1 Esports and Entertainment Ltd.

Just two weeks ago, X1 Esports and Entertainment Ltd (CSE: XONE) , a gaming and media portfolio company, also made their trading debut on the Canadian Stock Exchange.

Soon after going public, X1 announced the acquisition of Tyrus Talent Management, a digital influencer management firm specializing in working with YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch content creators, brand ambassadors and brands across all social media channels.

Mark Elfenbein, CEO of X1 Esports, commented, “The addition of the Company [Tyrus] to our portfolio, will help to establish X1 as an advertising sales organization with access to some of the most sought-after content creators in the video games category.”

Although X1 Esports is smaller than FaZe in terms of market capitalization, both companies seem to have their sights set on the creator economy and have established multiple sales verticals in an attempt to connect brands with Gen Z audiences.

In addition, X1 Esports and Entertainment Ltd. plans to continue building upon its portfolio of gaming & media assets through a combination of organic growth and accretive M&A.

It will be interesting to see how both companies perform over the coming months as the growth of the creator economy continues to swell.

A Whirlwind of M&A and Investment in the Gaming Industry

Recently, there has been a whirlwind of M&A in the Gaming industry.

As of January 2022, Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. (​​NASDAQ:ATVI) for a jaw-dropping $68.7 billion, and Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) is set to acquire Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) for $12.7 billion, both currently marked down as the two biggest deals in Gaming history.

On the institutional side, more and more funds and investment firms are also getting on board with gaming and esports. For example, Vancouver-based Aquilini Group, which owns the well-known NHL team Vancouver Canucks, invested a large sum into Enthusiast Gaming (TSX:EGLX) a few years ago. The company has since grown into a large network of Esports and gaming companies and boasts a market cap of over $300 million.

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