Soaring Eagle, SPAC Led by Founders of DraftKings, Skillz Blank-Check Firms, Takes Flight

Casino.org
Todd Shriber
Expertise: Financial, Gaming Business, Mergers and Acquisitions

Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:SRNGU), the seventh blank-check company led by Eagle Equity Partners’ Harry Sloan, Jeff Sagansky, and Eli Baker, began trading today. It’s possible the newly-minted firm could pursue a transaction with a gaming entity.

The trio of dealmakers have extensive experience running special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), and were involved with these vehicles long before blank-check mania swept over Wall Street. In 2011 and 2013, respectively, Sagansky and Sloan founded SPACs that ultimately found deals, helping merger partners access public markets. In 2015, Baker and Sagansky started a blank-check outfit that would later complete a business combination. All three examples occurred well before SPACs came into style last year.

Blank-check companies aren’t confined to striking deals in a specific industry, but gaming is potentially on the table for Soaring Eagle.

The firm raised $1.5 billion in its initial public offering (IPO), selling 150 million units at $10 apiece.
Soaring Eagle “has granted the underwriters a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 22,500,000 units at the initial public offering price to cover over-allotments, if any,” according to a statement.

Soaring Eagle Gaming Pedigree

It remains to be seen if Soaring Eagle will focus its efforts to locate a merger partner in the gaming industry. But the founders’ track record is hard to ignore.

Sloan was the executive that led the Diamond Eagle Acquisition SPAC. That company served as the vehicle through which DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) went public last April. With a market capitalization of $22.59 billion, DraftKings is now synonymous with blank-check success.

Sloan didn’t stop there. He also led Flying Eagle. That company merged with mobile games and esports tournament provider Skillz Inc. (NYSE:SKLZ) last year. Along with DraftKings, Skillz was one of the most successful 2020 SPAC transactions. The San Francisco-based company is up almost 55 percent year-to-date and has a market value of $9.03 billion.

Original Idea Was Altered

Soaring Eagle was born as Spinning Eagle — a blank-check entity that would have created another SPAC if it didn’t spend all of the $1.5 billion raised via the IPO.

That structure is undoubtedly unique, Baker and Sloan opted to scrap Spinning Eagle in favor of Soaring Eagle’s more traditional methodology following feedback from the SEC.

Reports surfaced earlier this month that the commission was reluctant to approve the Spinning Eagle structure because the Senate hasn’t confirmed Gary Gensler, President Joe Biden’s pick as SEC chair.