Evidently unfazed by the state of the stock exchanges and IPO market, FaZe Clan went public today via a $725 million SPAC merger with B Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp. The stock is now trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker “FAZE.” The public listing was expected, as an internal company memo from FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink told employees that the company would be looking to go public sometime in 2022, and was looking at a valuation of $1 billion.
FaZe Clan is a digital gaming and esports content platform that dates back to 2010. The company’s history is particularly interesting as FaZe Clan originated as little more than a group of friends playing the first-person shooter Call of Duty, and has since morphed into a full-fledged content studio, talent management agency, and e-commerce business. It’s also attracted high-profile investors, such as professional athletes, and has cemented partnerships with large brands. In all, the company says it has a fan base of roughly 500 million—80% of them between the ages of 13 and 34—across various digital platforms.
That’s one of the things that makes the public debut so noteworthy: It’s essentially a bet that young, creator-focused companies operating solely in the digital space can find their footing and carry on as profitable enterprises. FaZe’s stock listing makes it among the first esports and gaming lifestyle companies to hit the markets.
As for how that’s going so far? As of roughly 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the company’s stock was down almost 30% and trading at around $9.30, after debuting at $13.07 when the markets opened.
The other element to take note of regarding FaZe Clan going public is that the IPO market in 2022 has been slow, to say the least. Companies have been canceling IPOs left and right—almost 70 of them since the beginning of March, according to data from Stock Analysis—and data from FactSet shows that the number of IPOs during 2022 is on track to fall 83% year-over-year, mostly due to market volatility.
What will be interesting to watch is whether or how well the markets take to a company like FaZe Clan, which is the first of its kind to be listed on the Nasdaq. As mentioned, it amounts to a bet on the future of the so-called “creator economy,” and given the large audience that the company commands, it may pay off for investors.