Blue Ant pivots gaming strategy with Omnia Media sale

Enthusiast Gaming will acquire Omnia to form North America's largest gaming and esports platform, with Blue Ant gaining 18% ownership in Enthusiast and a seat on the board.

Blue Ant Media is set to hand over the controller as it sells its L.A.-based YouTube gaming platform Omnia Media in a twist on its esports strategy.

Toronto-based gaming and esports network Enthusiast Gaming has entered an agreement with Blue Ant to buy 100% of its shares of Omnia Media. As part of the acquisition, Blue Ant will receive $11 million in cash, which is subject to adjustments, a vendor-take-back note at a face value of $5.75 million and an estimated 18% ownership of Enthusiast Gaming with 18.25 million shares. The deal is expected to close in Enthusiast’s Q3 2020.

Once the deal is completed, Enthusiast Gaming will be “the largest gaming media, esports and entertainment platform in North America by users,” according to ComScore, with a combined reach of 300 million gamers per month, generating 4.2 billion monthly views across its channels. That includes more than 1,000 YouTube channels with access to over 26 million subscribers. As a minority stakeholder, Blue Ant – which was named Playback’s Media Company of the Year in 2019 – will be entitled to nominate a director to Enthusiast’s board of directors.

To help pay for the acquisition, Enthusiast entered a deal with Canaccord Genuity, Paradigm Capital and Haywood Securities, along with additional companies, to sell 10 million shares at $1.50 per share to generate $15 million in proceeds, with the option to sell another 1.5 million shares for an additional $2.25 million.

“We are delighted to share that Omnia Media will be joining Enthusiast Gaming, a move that will solidify Omnia’s bright future with the scale and access Enthusiast provides as a publicly traded company,” said Michael MacMillan, Blue Ant Media CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “This transaction is an exciting, new way for Blue Ant to continue its investment in the esports market.”

Blue Ant purchased a minority stake in Omnia Media in 2014 – then, a music-focused multi-channel network on YouTube – eventually taking full ownership. The company evolved into a gaming network, representing more than 500 influencers on YouTube and Twitch and generating more than three billion views per month.

Omnia expanded in 2019 with the acquisitions of YouTube channels BCC Gaming, dedicated to the game Fortnite, and pop culture-focused WiseCrack. The company also evolved its distribution model, with reach across Snapchat, Twitch, Amazon, Roku, Samsung and Twitter. Omnia accounted for 35% of Blue Ant’s total business in 2019, with its fiscal 2019 revenue coming to US$59.9 million.

Enthusiast Gaming recently reported a total revenue of $7 million in its Q2 2020, with viewer engagement up 35% (3.1 total billion page views) compared to the previous quarter (2.3 billion page views). Enthusiast says the acquisition of Omnia is expected to “immediately generate positive EBITDA” for the combined companies.

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