PlayUp to go public on Nasdaq in 2023 following $350m SPAC deal

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Sydney-headquartered online gambling operator PlayUp is set to go public on Nasdaq via a SPAC merger with IG Acquisition Corp (IGAC).

The New York-listed SPAC announced today that the two firms have entered into a business combination agreement and accompanying scheme implementation deed, under which PlayUp will list on the Nasdaq via a newly formed parent company at a valuation of $350m.

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.

Founded in 2014, PlayUp is a sports betting and iGaming operator built on its own proprietary technology. It currently holds online betting licences in multiple jurisdictions and is operational in Australia, New Zealand, India and several states in the US, including Colorado and North Dakota.

SPAC partner IGAC said it believes the operator is uniquely positioned to build the first fully integrated technology platform where customers can engage in a variety of betting types, including daily fantasy, fixed-odds, casino, esports, lottery and sweepstakes, under a single account and digital wallet from any jurisdiction where such activities are permitted.

PlayUp’s gross revenue grew 56% year-on-year in the financial year 2021-22, IGAC added, helping the SPAC conclude that it was the most likely to succeed long-term, ahead of several businesses it has been exploring over the past two years.

PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic: “PlayUp believes this transaction will enable us to continue investing in our proprietary technology and deliver on our aspirations to be the unrivalled entertainment and betting platform of the future.”

PlayUp’s leadership team’s expertise with regards to regulation, together with the operator’s proprietary technology stack, made a compelling case for merging with the business, IGAC said.

As part of the transaction, PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic will retain the title of global CEO of the combined company.

IGAC chairman and venture capitalist Bradley Tusk and gambling industry veteran and CEO Christian Goode will join the newly combined company as global chairman and president of the US business, respectively.

“PlayUp believes this transaction will enable us to continue investing in our proprietary technology and deliver on our aspirations to be the unrivalled entertainment and betting platform of the future,” said PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic. 

“We envision a world where our players can enhance their experience betting on the products they already love plus interact with the next generation of immersive betting products that embrace newer technologies such as AR and VR.”

Tusk added: “We are excited about this transaction because we believe PlayUp is the closest to achieving our shared vision for the future of online betting – a platform that offers consumers any type of digital betting they want, from one app and one digital wallet, anywhere in the world where it’s legal.”

PlayUp has been pursuing a merger or a sale for some time. In July, the operator launched a strategic review to explore its sale options after a previously rumoured $450m acquisition by Bahamas-based crypto firm FTX fell through last year.

The collapse of that deal led to a protracted legal battle and bitter war of words between PlayUp, Simic and its former US CEO Dr. Laila Mintas.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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