OWL Outlaws' Purchase By Houston Investor Currently In Doubt
Real estate investor Lee Zieben’s proposed deal to buy the Overwatch League's Houston Outlaws appears to have stalled, with industry execs questioning if it is still going through and no formal announcement having come. Immortals Gaming Club is divesting the Outlaws because it already owns the L.A. Valiant and only came upon owning the Outlaws due to its acquisition of parent company Infinite Esports & Entertainment, which also owned OpTic Gaming. The OWL is requiring Immortals to sell the Outlaws as a result to avoid ownership of two teams. ESPN first reported in late July that Houston-based Zieben had agreed to terms for the deal with Immortals for around $40M to buy the Outlaws, which Infinite originally acquired as an expansion team for $20M in late ’17 for the inaugural OWL season in ‘18. However, the deal had yet to be approved by the league and executed. The report said the deal was expected to close in late August. However, there has been no announcement by the league or related organizations in the time since, and sources said that the deal has run into issues in recent weeks that make it unclear whether it will still go through. The exact nature of the holdup is unclear, but a Twitter account under Zieben’s name sent tweets to three celebrity businesspeople in July (Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), asking if they wanted to invest in his purchase of two esports teams. This raised questions among industry execs of if he had the proper financing to execute the deal. One of the sources said the OWL has several other interested bidders if Zieben’s deal collapses. Zieben, the OWL and the Outlaws did not respond to requests for comment, so it was unclear if Zieben is still working to salvage the deal. Immortals declined comment.