Gaming & Esports Execs Mount IPO to Buy Into Video Game Industry

Gaming & eSports Execs Mount IPO to Buy Into Video Game Industry

Two former games-industry CEOs, the owner of an eSports team, and a Floridian entrepreneur have announced the foundation of a new company, which is meant to identify and acquire a business that focuses on video games and/or the metaverse.

PowerUp Acquisitions began its initial public offering on Thursday, Feb. 17, with 25 million units priced at $10 apiece, and plans to close on Feb. 23. PowerUp is a “blank check company,” meaning that it has no particular business plan beyond immediately pursuing a merger or acquisition.

For video game fans, the news here comes from PowerUp’s management team, which is led by Jack Tretton, who may be a familiar face for people who are primarily into the PlayStation platform. Tretton worked at Sony from 1993 through 2014, during which time he rose to the position of CEO at Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Sony’s Jack Tretton in 2013, shown here cradling an imaginary PlayStation Move. (Not really.)

If you watched Sony’s E3 presentations between 2007 and 2013, Tretton was the lead presenter for each one. However, he may be more famous for being the “called the Wii a ‘lollipop'” guy, which became much funnier a few years later upon the introduction of the much more lollipop-adjacent PlayStation Move.

Tretton left Sony in 2014, citing a “mutual agreement” between himself and the company to not renew his contract. During his 19 years at the company, he was a founding executive at SCEA and was involved with the launch of every Sony console between the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 4.

The other leaders of PowerUp’s management team are Bruce Hack, who was the CEO of Vivendi Games from 2004 until its merger with Activision in 2008, and who’s currently the CEO of a gaming-focused investment firm, BLH Ventures; Michael Olson, the chief financial officer at the esports organization Version1; and Gabriel Schillinger, the co-founder of Gamma Innovations.

Long story short: a mildly infamous figure in PlayStation history has gotten together with a few other high rollers to found a big company for the specific purpose of buying his way right back into the modern games and/or metaverse industry. It’s a particularly brazen example of another potentially-impending merger & acquisition, following hard on the heels of other big M&A stories this year.

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Written by Thomas Wilde

Thomas Wilde has been working off and on in the video game press for 20 years, starting as a strategy guide author before branching out to criticism and reporting. He likes survival horror, weird platformers, twitchy '90s-style shooters, and the occasional JRPG.

He has won World War II three dozen separate times. You're welcome.

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