FaZe Clan, the esports collective and youth culture brand that’s received investment from an array of heavy hitters in the music business, went public on the Nasdaq exchange Wednesday (July 20).
The listing follows the completion of FaZe Clan’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger with 150 Merger Corp., an affiliate of B. Riley Financial. The combined company has been renamed FaZe Holding and will trade under the ticker symbol FAZE.
On its first day, the stock finished down more than 24% to $9.88 after debuting with a share price of $13.07. It’s rebounded slightly to $10.19 in after-hours trading.
With a fan network of roughly 500 million across social platforms, according to the company, FaZe Clan has drawn a number of high-profile investors from the music industry, including Jimmy Iovine, Sylvia Rhone, Troy Carter, Guy Oseary and artists like Offset, Lil Yachty, Pitbull and Yo Gotti.
Those investments aren’t surprising when you consider that FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink has an extensive background in the music business, having worked at labels including Atlantic Records, Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Lava; he also served as Kid Rock’s manager for a period of time. Additionally, president and COO Zach Katz, who joined the company earlier this year, previously served as president of BMG US and co-founded the label and music publishing company Beluga Heights following earlier stints as a music attorney and manager. Chief strategy officer Kai Henry also has a music background, having managed artists including Snoop Dogg, who now serves on FaZe Clan’s board of directors.
FaZe Clan’s footprint has expanded to multiple arenas over the years. In addition to its core esports gaming vertical comprised of 11 competitive teams, it has broadened its reach by launching content, merchandising and music divisions. The company says that approximately 80% of its audience falls into the coveted 13-34 age demo, and the music industry has taken notice; among other deals, FaZe Clan struck a partnership with Interscope and the late Juice WRLD for a merch bundle around the rapper’s 2020 album Legends Never Die. In September, the company made further inroads into music by releasing the track “Made A Way” by FaZe Clan member FaZe Kaysan featuring Future and Lil Durk.
“This is a landmark event for gaming culture and Gen Z, as FaZe Clan becomes the first Gen Z native brand to go public,” said Trink in a statement. “It provides us the access to capital and global profile to enable our long-term growth objectives, and for the first time gives our fans the opportunity to own a part of our future. As this generation rises to economic power and influence, FaZe will continue to use its voice to pioneer and innovate at the intersection of technology, entertainment and culture.”
Dan Shribman, chief investment officer at B. Riley Financial, added, “With an unparalleled level of engagement with Gen Z, FaZe represents a strong opportunity to invest in the future of digital-native entertainment. Establishing a presence in the public markets provides FaZe the opportunity to meaningfully expand its global presence across content, gaming, entertainment, consumer products and Web3.”