By Christopher Palmeri June12, 2019
Immortals Gaming Club, an esports business backed by Meg Whitman and the family of Michael Milken among others, acquired Infinite Esports from two of the owners of the Texas Rangers baseball team, marking what the buyers said is the industry’s first $100 million deal.
The transaction merges Los Angeles-based Immortals, best known for its Valiant team in the Overwatch League, with the parent of OpTic Gaming, one of the more prominent teams in the League of Legends Championship Series. Its fans are known as the Greenwall.
“We expect there’s going to be general consolidation in the industry,” Immortals Chief Executive Officer Ari Segal said an interview. “This is the first wave of that.”
The valuation includes the purchase price, debt and other liabilities, including franchise fees still owed to the leagues. The Immortals’ lineup of games will also include Call of Duty, which is launching a new league, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, meaning the company now competes in four major esports.
Based on the equity consideration in the transaction, Infinite stockholders collectively become the largest shareholder of Immortals Gaming Club, according to a spokesman, with AEG continuing to hold the biggest single stake. Neil Leibman and Ray Davis, co-owners of the Texas Rangers, will become shareholders in Immortals as part of the deal.
Esports, where fans watch professional video-game players compete online and in arenas, is among the fastest-growing businesses in entertainment, attracting big money investors from the world of media and sports. Last week, the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils bought a majority stake in Clutch Gaming, a professional team owned by the Houston Rockets.
The deal marks a return to League of Legends competition for Immortals, which was co-founded in 2015 by Noah Whinston, a college dropout and esports enthusiast. Immortals operated a team, but failed to get a franchise in the League of Legends Championship Series when parent Riot Games offered them two years ago. They plan to sell the Houston Outlaws franchise in the Overwatch League.
Immortals raised $30 million in a follow-on offering last month. The overall business is now valued at $250 million, according to a person familiar with the terms who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.