Global esports entertainment company Allied Esports is set to merge with WPT Enterprises, creator of the World Poker Tour, through an agreement that seeks to create a market-leading esports brand.

The Black Ridge Acquisition division of Black Ridge Oil & Gas and Hong Kong-listed mind sports entertainment company Ourgame International have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Black Ridge will acquire Allied Esports and WPT Enterprises from Ourgame for around $150m (£118.3m/€130.9m).

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, whereby the combined company will be renamed Allied Esports Entertainment (AESE) and is expected to trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market. The transaction projects an anticipated initial enterprise value of approximately $213.8m.

Upon completion of the transaction, AESE will be an esports entertainment company dedicated to providing world-class in-person experiences, multiplatform content and interactive services to the global video gaming community through the combination of Allied Esports and WPT.

Lyle Berman, director of Black Ridge, who is expected to be the chairman of the board of AESE upon closing of the deal, said: “In more than 40 years in the gaming and entertainment business, this is the most exciting opportunity I have seen. The capital from the Black Ridge SPAC will be used to expand AESE’s global property network, accelerating their first-mover advantage as the company continues to build a brand that is synonymous with esports.”

AESE will seek to boost Allied Esports’ presence in the marketplace through the development of authentic in-person experiences from its global property network, including flagship arenas, mobile esports trucks and affiliate arenas.

Through those experiences, the company will look to continue to create original content across partner distribution platforms, including digital, traditional and social media. Finally, AESE plans to scale its interactive services through the development of a proprietary online platform to deliver branded entertainment for participants and viewers globally.

Allied Esports has generated considerable attention in the global esports entertainment landscape of late. In March, the company debuted its global flagship arena, HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas (pictured). Earlier this week, the company announced the formation of the world’s first esports venue affiliate program – Allied Esports Property Network.

“This transaction will be transformational for our rapidly expanding company and provide the esports community with a fully capitalised, globally connected esports enterprise capable of producing the volume and breadth of esports entertainment products the industry is increasingly demanding,” said Frank Ng, who will step down as CEO of Ourgame to lead AESE under the same title.

“By applying WPT’s proven business model to the much bigger, higher-growth global esports business, we are creating an esports entertainment platform that is long-lasting and positioned to capture the esports monetisation opportunity.”

Image: Allied Esports