July 22, 2022
Entertainment and eSports brand FaZe Clan completed a $725 million merger with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and began publicly trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Wednesday. FaZe Clan currently has around 93 creators with a combined 500 million followers across popular social platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Twitch. In May, Forbes ranked FaZe Clan the fourth most valuable eSports company, estimating its worth at $400 million. Trading as FAZE, the stock fell nearly 25 percent in its first day of trading.
The company sees itself as pioneering. “We think we’re the first Gen Z native brand to go public; we’re certainly the first creator-based brand to go public,” FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink told CNBC.
Most of the 12-year-old “company’s revenues come from sponsorships, content production, consumer products and its eSports competitions,” according to Axios.
“FaZe has done streetwear collaborations with Champion, Disney and famed artist Takashi Murakami,” reports The Washington Post. “Its members have appeared in a Batman comic. Snoop Dogg rocked a FaZe Clan chain during his Super Bowl LVI halftime performance. He’s also on FaZe’s board of directors.”
FaZe Clan valued itself at $1 billion in October 2021 when it announced the intent to merge into a SPAC created by B. Riley Financial. “Nine months later, the deal is now worth $725 million,” writes CNBC. FaZe says 80 percent of its audience is comprised of 13 to 34-year-olds. The youth-driven digital economy “is a growing force in the markets,” notes CNBC, citing Statista’s estimate of a $13 billion global creator market.
In 2020, FaZe announced investors including executives Jimmy Iovine, Sylvia Rhone and Guy Oseary, as well as NTWRK, which runs a mobile e-commerce platform. Arena Group CEO Ross Levinsohn sits on the board. Notwithstanding market conditions and the threat of new SPAC regulation, Trink says going public via SPAC was the right decision for FaZe.
“It seems to be their best attempt at securing capital, especially in the rather rough economic times we’re currently in,” business analyst Tobias Seck told CNBC. “It’s obviously still nascent, and most of the organizations are still trying to figure out how to actually make money.”
“The company plans to use the money raised from its IPO to invest more heavily in Web3 tools and experiences to better connect audiences to its network of lifestyle and gaming creators,” notes Axios.