The Daily Dish (1/15/21)
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Texas billionaire, Houston Rockets owner, and James Harden’s former employer Tilman Fertitta is in talks to take his casino and restaurant empire public through a merger with blank-check firm Fast Acquisition Corp. $FST, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The special purpose acquisition company is in talks to raise more than $1 billion in new equity to support a transaction, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The deal could value the combined entity at up to $7 billion including debt, one of the people added. Fast Acquisition raised $200 million last year and said it would focus on a target in the North American restaurant, hospitality and related sectors.
The new company, which Fertitta would still control, is set to include casinos and restaurants under the Golden Nugget and Landry’s umbrellas, they said. If talks are successful, a deal could be announced n the coming weeks. Terms may change and discussions could still fall apart.
In addition to the Golden Nugget casinos, the company operates hundreds of restaurants under the Landry’s umbrella, including Del Frisco’s steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
In December, Golden Nugget Online Gaming Inc., an online gaming and digital sports entertainment company led by Fertitta, closed its merger with Landcadia Holdings II Inc., a vehicle co-sponsored by Fertitta Entertainment Inc. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc.
Thunder Bridge Capital Partners III $TBCP, the third blank check company led by Gary Simanson targeting the fintech industry, filed on Friday with the SEC to raise up to $300 million in an initial public offering by offering 30 million units at a price of $10. Each unit consists of one share of common stock and one-fourth of a warrant, exercisable at $11.50. At the proposed deal size, Thunder Bridge III would command a market value of $383 million.
The company is led by CEO and Director Gary Simanson, who founded Thunder Bridge Capital and has served as CEO since 2017, and CFO William Houlihan, who currently serves as a Director of Hunt Companies Finance Trust (NYSE: HCFT) and Max Exchange. The group’s previous SPACs include Thunder Bridge Acquisition II ($THBR; +32% from $10 offer price), which raised $300 million in 2019 and is pending a combination with indie Semiconductor, and Thunder Bridge Acquisition, which completed its acquisition of Repay Holdings ($RPAY; +148%) in 2019.
Thunder Bridge Capital Partners III intends to concentrate on identifying businesses in the financial services industry, including asset and wealth management, lending and leasing, and businesses providing financial technological services to, or operating in, the financial services industry. A particular emphasis will be placed on businesses that provide data processing, storage and transmission services, databases and payment services, fraud detection, data analysis or verification, client or customer interface, or have adopted operations in the financial services industry that are more technologically driven than the operational platforms of the legacy operators (collectively “FinTech”).
$CONX, a blank check company formed by Charles Ergen targeting wireless communications, raised $750 million by offering 75 million units at $10. The company is led by Chairman Charles Ergen, who is most widely known for co-founding DISH and managing the spin-off of DISH’s technology and set-top box business into EchoStar, which is now publicly traded. Ergen is the current chairman of DISH and has had a hand in developing a number of TMT companies throughout his tenure. The SPAC intends to target the TMT industry with a specific focus on wireless communications.
Bill Berkman, an investment banker and longtime telecom executive, said that in the case of CONX people will want to invest because, “They trust Charlie.” He said that through CONX, Ergen can potentially invest in spectrum, or an existing wireless operator or in fiber assets, for example. Berkman said CONX is “mutually exclusive” from Dish Network and has nothing to do with the finances of that company. He also sees opportunity in edge computing with 5G, mentioning that the space at the base of towers is a good place for cloud RAN equipment. In early 2020 DISH selected Mavenir to Deliver Cloud Native OpenRAN software for the nation’s First Virtual 5G wireless Broadband Network. I believe that Ergen wants to expand Dish’s business area to 5G and may do that with a SPAC of one of DISH’s 5G partners.
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