Black Ridge Acquisition Corporation *

Black Ridge Acquisition Corporation *

Oct 19, 2020 by Roman Developer


ENTERPRISE VALUE: $217.1 Million

*SPACInsider estimate a/o 8-2-19

Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. proposes to acquire two of Ourgame’s global esports and entertainment assets, Allied Esports International, Inc. (“Allied Esports”) and WPT Enterprises, Inc. (“WPT”). At close, the combined company will be renamed Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc. (“AESE”) and is expected to trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the ticker symbol “AESE.”

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 a fusion of two leaders in the esports and entertainment industries, Allied Esports™ and WPT®.

Upon completion of the transaction, AESE is expected to be led by Lyle Berman, Chairman; Eric Yang, Vice Chairman; Frank Ng, Chief Executive Officer; Ken DeCubellis, Chief Financial Officer; David Moon, Chief Operating Officer; and Adam Pliska, President. Jud Hannigan will continue his role as CEO of Allied Esports and Pliska will continue to serve as president and CEO of WPT.

The transaction reflects an anticipated initial enterprise value of approximately $213.8 million. Assuming no shareholder redemptions, the company will have $98.7 million in cash on the balance sheet after transaction costs and payment of $35 million for debt owed to Ourgame. The company will have zero debt at closing.

black ridge transaction overview 5-7-19


  • Macquarie Capital acted as M&A and capital markets advisor to Black Ridge.
  • EarlyBird Capital acted as capital markets advisor.
  • Graubard Miller provided legal counsel to Black Ridge.
  • Maslon LLP provided legal counsel to Allied Esports and WPT.
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP provided legal counsel to Ourgame.


Executive Officers

Ken DeCubellis, 50
Chairman and CEO

Since November 2011, Mr. DeCubellis has served as chief executive officer of our sponsor, Black Ridge Oil & Gas, Inc. Black Ridge Oil & Gas, Inc. is an oil and gas company that pursues distressed asset acquisitions in all unconventional, onshore U.S. oil and gas basins, including over $100 million previously invested in the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana. Prior to joining Black Ridge Oil & Gas, Mr. DeCubellis was the president and chief executive officer of Altra Inc., a venture capital backed biofuels company based in Los Angeles, California. He joined Altra in June 2006 as vice president, business development and was promoted to president in November of 2007 and chief executive officer in February 2008. When Mr. DeCubellis became chief executive officer of Altra Inc in 2008, the company was in deep financial distress. Mr. DeCubellis implemented a comprehensive corporate wide restructuring effort that was completed in 2009. This included restructuring and eliminating all of the debt at Altra Inc, raising capital at Altra Inc and refocusing the strategy of the company on a technology license. As part of this restructuring, certain wholly-owned subsidiaries of Altra, Inc. surrendered assets to lenders or entered in receivership. From 1996 to 2006, Mr. DeCubellis was an executive with Exxon Mobil Corp. in Houston, Texas. Mr. DeCubellis also previously served as the chairman of KD Global Energy Belize Ltd., a company that provides technical and business services for petroleum lease holders in Belize. Mr. DeCubellis holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an MBA from Northwestern University’s JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and a Masters of Engineering Management from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering.

Michael Eisele, 35

Mr. Eisele has been the chief operating officer of our sponsor since August 2013, and prior to that had served as our sponsor’s vice president of land from August 2012 to August 2013, overseeing its acreage portfolio and managing acquisitions and divestitures. Prior to joining our sponsor, Mr. Eisele was the co-owner and landman of High West Resources, Ltd. from 2011 to July 2012, the owner of Eisele Resources LLC from 2009 to 2012, and a self-employed landman from 2007 to 2009. Mr. Eisele is a graduate of Luther College (B.A.).

James Moe, 60
CFO, Secretary and Treasurer

Mr. Moe has been the chief financial officer of our sponsor since March 2011. Mr. Moe had previously been the chief financial officer of Northern Contours Inc., a multi-state manufacturing company located in Mendota Heights, Minnesota specializing in cabinet doors and work surfaces, from August 2005 until March 2011. From January 2004 to August 2005, he was the chief financial officer of Trimodal Inc., a trucking and container handling company located in Bloomington, Minnesota, which operated in seven cities in the Midwest and East Coast. From April 2000 to December 2003, Mr. Moe was the corporate controller of, a venture capital backed start-up company located in Golden Valley, Minnesota providing home delivery of groceries ordered over the internet. From October 1994 to April 2000, he was the corporate controller of Recovery Engineering Inc., a publicly traded manufacturer and distributor of small-scale water filters located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. From November 1989 to October 1994, Mr. Moe was the controller of Standard Iron and Wire Works, a privately held multi-division metal fabricator operating three plants in Minnesota. Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 1985, Mr. Moe worked as a senior accountant until November 1989 for Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell & Company.

Board of Directors

Bradley Berman, 46

Mr. Berman has been the chairman of our sponsor since November 2010 and has served as a director of our sponsor since its inception in April 2010. He was our sponsor’s chief executive officer from November 2010 to November 2011, its chief financial officer between November 12, 2010 and November 15, 2010, and its corporate secretary from November 2010 to February 2011. Mr. Berman is the president of King Show Games, Inc., a company he founded in 1998. Mr. Berman has worked in various capacities in casino gaming from 1992 to 2004 for Grand Casinos, Inc. and then Lakes Entertainment, Inc., achieving the position of Vice President of Gaming, after which he assumed a lesser role in that company. Mr. Berman was a director of Voyager Oil and Gas, Inc. (formerly Ante4 and WPT) from August 2004 to November 2010. Mr. Berman is the son of Lyle Berman, one of our directors.

Benjamin S. Oehler, 69

Mr. Oehler has been a director of our sponsor since November 2010, and chairman of its audit committee and compensation committee since February 2011. Mr. Oehler is a Founding Partner of Windward Mark, LLC which advises business owners with regard to strategic planning, owner governance and education, business continuity, legacy, philanthropy and liquidity. Windward Mark LLC is a continuation of Mr. Oehler’s consulting practice at Bashaw Group. Inc. (2007-2017) and Linea Capital, LLC (2009 – 2017). From 1999 to 2007, Mr. Oehler was the president and chief executive officer of Waycrosse, Inc., a financial advisory firm for the family owners of Cargill Incorporated. While at Waycrosse, Mr. Oehler was the primary advisor to the five family members who were serving on the Cargill Incorporated board of directors from 1999 to 2006. Mr. Oehler played a key role in two major growth initiatives for Cargill: the merger of Cargill’s fertilizer business into a public company which is now Mosaic, Inc., and the transformation of Cargill’s proprietary financial markets trading group into two major investment management companies: Black River Asset Management, LLC and CarVal Investors, LLC. An investment banker for 20 years, Mr. Oehler’s transaction experience includes public offerings and private placements of debt and equity securities, mergers and acquisitions, fairness opinions and valuations of private companies. Prior to joining Waycrosse, Mr. Oehler was an investment banker for Piper Jaffray. By the time he left Piper Jaffray in 1999, he was group head for Piper’s Industrial Growth Team. He has also played a leadership role in a number of corporate buy-outs and venture stage companies, served on corporate and non-profit boards of directors, and has been involved in the creation and oversight of foundations and charitable organizations, as well as U.S. trusts and off-shore entities.
Mr. Oehler has been a board member and/or founder of many non-profit organizations including the Minnesota Zoological Society, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, The Lake Country Land School, Greencastle Tropical Study Center, Park Nicollet Institute, Afton Historical Society Press, United Theological Seminary and University of Minnesota Investment Advisor, Inc. He has been a director of Waycrosse, Inc., WayTrust Inc., Dain Equity Partners, Inc., Time Management, Inc., BioNIR, Inc. and Agricultural Solutions, Inc. In September 2007, Mr. Oehler completed the Stanford University Law School Directors Forum, a three-day update on key issues facing corporate directors presented by the Stanford Business School and Stanford Law School. From 1984 through 1999, Mr. Oehler was registered with the National Association of Securities Dealers (“NASD”) as a financial principal. Mr. Oehler is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts and has completed all course work at the University of Minnesota Business School with a concentration in finance.

Joseph Lahti, 57

Mr. Lahti has been a director of our sponsor since August 2012. Mr. Lahti is a Minneapolis native and leader in numerous Minnesota business and community organizations. As principal of JL Holdings since 1989, Mr. Lahti has provided funding and management leadership to several early-stage or distressed companies. From 1993 to 2002, he held the positions of chief operating officer, president, chief executive officer and chairman at Shuffle Master, Inc., a company that provided innovative products to the gaming industry. Mr. Lahti served as a director of PokerTek, Inc., a publicly traded company, from 2008 until it was sold in October 2014 (including serving as Chairman of the Board from 2012 to 2014), and he is also an independent director and Chairman of the Board of AFAM Capital, an investment manager. Within the past five years Mr. Lahti served on the board of directors of Voyager Oil & Gas, Inc., and more than five years ago Mr. Lahti served as the Chairman of the Board of directors of Shuffle Master, Inc. and served on the board of directors of Zomax, Inc. Through his public company Board experience, he has participated on, and chaired, both Audit and Compensation Committees.

Lyle Berman, 76

Mr. Berman has been a director of our sponsor since October 2016. Since June 1990, Mr. Berman has been the chairman and chief executive officer of Berman Consulting Corporation, a private consulting firm he founded. Mr. Berman began his career with Berman Buckskin, his family’s leather business, which he helped grow into a major specialty retailer with 27 outlets. After selling Berman Buckskin to W.R. Grace in 1979, Mr. Berman continued as president and chief executive officer and led the company to become one the country’s largest retail leather chains, with over 200 stores nationwide. In 1990, Mr. Berman participated in the founding of Grand Casinos, Inc. Mr. Berman is credited as one of the early visionaries in the development of casinos outside of the traditional gaming markets of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In less than five years, the company opened eight casino resorts in four states. In 1994, Mr. Berman financed the initial development of Rainforest Cafe. He served as the chairman and chief executive officer from 1994 unti1 2000. In October 1995, Mr. Berman was honored with the B’nai B’rith “Great American Traditions Award.” In April 1996, he received the Gaming Executive of the Year Award; in 2004, Mr. Berman was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame; and in 2009, he received the Casino Lifetime Achievement Award from Raving Consulting & Casino Journal. In 1998, Lakes Entertainment, Inc. was formed. In 2002, as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Lakes Entertainment, Inc., Mr. Berman was instrumental in creating the World Poker Tour. Mr. Berman served as the executive chairman of the board of WPT Enterprises, Inc. (later known as Voyager Oil & Gas, Inc. and Emerald Oil, Inc.) from its inception in February 2002 until July 2013. Mr. Berman also served as a director of PokerTek, Inc. from January 2005 until October 2014, including serving as chairman of the board from January 2005 until October 2011. Mr. Berman is the father of Brad Berman, one of our directors.