Activision Blizzard Finalizing Deal For Toronto OWL Franchise
Activision Blizzard is finalizing a deal to sell a Toronto franchise in the Overwatch League to a group that includes Penguins investor Michael Kimel and Splyce, the esports organization backed by Delaware North, sources said. Splyce is partnering with OverActive Media Group to create the new ownership entity, with additional capital coming from Kimel, a Toronto entrepreneur, and Westdale Construction, part of a real estate development empire controlled by his uncle, Ron Kimel. Splyce will operate the team in addition to owning a 10% stake. Sources said the deal is highly likely to be consummated within days. The price is expected to be $35M, sources said. Splyce and OWL officials declined to comment. Messages left with OverActive and Kimel were not returned.
Toronto would be the second and final North American expansion team added this offseason to the OWL, following Atlanta. OWL officials have said they want to add six teams globally, but only two would come from North America. In the first season, nine of the 12 teams are based in the U.S. Rochester-based Splyce currently fields teams in seven games, most notably in the top-tier European circuit of League of Legends.
Delaware North in February ‘17 acquired a large minority stake in the team. Splyce this year raised additional financing in a round led by OverActive, which was then known as The Ledger Group. Other Splyce backers include First Serve Partners, former NBAer Metta World Peace, former NFLer Roman Harper and sports agent David Meltzer. Splyce’s involvement in the Toronto deal was first reported by over.gg, but its position as an owner and its partners had not been previously disclosed. In addition to his role as minority shareholder in the Penguins, Kimel is co-Founder of Chase Hospitality Group, a Toronto restaurant group.
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