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Nov 9, 2020

Gaming firm backed by Vancouver NHL owners seeks Nasdaq listing

You need a video game strategy to engage with young people: Enthusiast Gaming CEO

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Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc., an e-sports firm backed by the family that owns the Vancouver Canucks hockey club, plans to list on the Nasdaq as it seeks greater exposure to U.S. investors.

The Toronto-based company has submitted its application to Nasdaq and awaits approval, according to a statement Monday. Enthusiast’s shareholders include Roberto Aquilini and Francesco Aquilini, who hold a combined 6% of Enthusiast’s stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Francesco, who is chairman of the Canucks, is also Enthusiast’s chairman.

The Aquilini Investment Group is known for its ownership of Vancouver’s National Hockey League franchise and numerous other businesses, including residential developments, hotels and restaurants.

“Our story is resonating south of the border,” Chief Executive Officer Adrian Montgomery said in an interview. Greater liquidity and a broader investor base are positives for a U.S. listing, said Montgomery, who used to be CEO of the Canucks.

Enthusiast’s platform, which includes websites and YouTube channels, has a monthly reach of over 300 million gamers, according to its investor presentation. The company has seven professional e-sports teams.

“Asia is the largest region for e-sports viewership, given its sizable gaming culture, while North America remains the biggest market by revenue,” according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report.

Shares of Enthusiast have fallen about 22 per cent this year versus a 4.6 per cent decline for the S&P/TSX Composite Index. It has a market value of $168 million.

“We’re set up to know more about the hopes and preferences of 300 million young people than anyone else,” Montgomery said.