On December 9, the Danish eSports company Astralis Group is looking to go public, making this the first time an initial public offer has ever been proposed by an eSports team.
The Astralis Group, which owns the League of Legends team Origen, FIFA’s Future FC, and Counter-Strike: Astralis’s Global Offensive, revealed plans to take over the public company a few months after its division from RFRSH Entertainment. The move marks the first time an organisation has gone public with an intimate involvement in managing and owning sports teams.
Astralis is currently the world’s top-ranking Counter-Strike team and earlier this year won its third consecutive CSGO major, while Origen is a permanent LEC franchise.
The company plans to raise between $18 million and $22 million with the offer, according to the IPO prospectus of the Astralis Group. With the brand already partnered with Audi and Logitech’s likes, the IPO should attract serious investor interest. The company’s listing will take place on or before December 9 on the First North Growth Market stock exchange of Nasdaq.
In September, the Astralis Group was split from RFRSH Entertainment in the middle of a conflict of interest over the inclusion of Astralis in RFRSH-run BLAST Pro Series tournaments. The two entities eventually split up with Astralis Group taking over the team operations of the company while RFRSH Entertainment continued as the organiser of the tournament.
Typically, organisations relied on outside funding from venture capital firms to establish their brands until the announcement of the Astralis Group. That route has also been followed by the Astralis Corporation, but it will now enter untested territory.
There was only one like Astralis Group test case. Super League Gaming, a gaming-centered event planning company, was released in February with an IPO of $25 million. Although the IPO was flooded with hype, in fact it was a disaster.
The value plunged after release after opening at $11 a share. As of November 29, 2019, it now sits at $2.47 per share.
Nevertheless, the Astralis Group is very distinct from SLG. The firm is led by veterans of the industry and its products are teams, not services. They start on a much firmer ground in that respect.
The location of AG in Denmark is another bonus for the IPO, as the country accepted sports unusually. For example, after winning the BLAST Pro Series in Copenhagen, Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen visited the Astralis facilities in person to congratulate the team. The players themselves enjoy celebrity status in their home country and often appear after big wins in newspapers and on Danish TV.
For now, the Astralis Group is watching the rest of the world’s sports. If the IPO is successful, it could lead to a similar plunge in a number of organisations.