Entertainment

Reggie Fils-Aimé and United Talent lead $200M gaming and entertainment SPAC

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UTA Acquisition Corp. plans to raise $200 million in public funds for a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) headed by former Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aimé and other leaders from United Talent Agency, a big talent, entertainment, and athlete representation company.

The fund shows how the environment for gaming-related deals is still hot. So far this year, investors have poured $71 billion over the past nine months into gaming acquisitions, investments, and public offerings, according to Drake Star Partners.

The SPAC is a way to take a private company and merge it with a public company to streamline the normally lengthy process for an initial public offering (IPO). Private companies can use a SPAC to raise money quickly, and game companies have taken advantage of this process during the pandemic, which has boosted the values of game companies.

Fils-Aimé became famous as a top executive of Nintendo, serving from 2003 to 2019. But since leaving Nintendo, he has kept his ties with gaming and business close as a leader in residence at Cornell University and a board member for Brunswick Corp., GameStop (until recently) and Spin Master.

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UTA Acquisition Corp. will sell 20 million shares at $10 per share. As a “blank check” company, UTA won’t know who it will merge with ahead of time. But it did say that its focus is to find a target private firm in the gaming, digital media, creator economy, entertainment and technology industries.

While SPACs have been active this year, they do pose some risks in a stock market with constantly fluctuating prices. Jam City scuttled its plans for a SPAC as investors and the company didn’t see eye-to-eye on overall opportunity. The SPAC will be traded under the UTAA symbol.

Fils-Aimé will serve as chairman of UTA Acquisition. Clinton Foy, a venture capitalist at UTA and Square Enix executive, will be co-CEO; ex-Google business development manager Jamie Sharp will be co-CEO; Ophir Lupu, head of video games at United Talent Agency, will be president; and Chris Jefferis of United Talent Agency will be chief financial officer.

Fils-Aimé helped bring the Nintendo DS, the Wii, the Nintendo 3DS, the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch to the global marketplace. In October 2019, he was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame. But evidently he wasn’t ready to retire yet.

And Kathy Vrabeck is a director at UTA Acquisition Corp. She is chief strategy officer of The Beachbody Company, where she is responsible for prioritizing and driving strategic growth initiatives, human capital allocation, and M&A efforts and integration.

It will be interesting to see which private company they plan to take public.

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