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HBSE Clutch Gaming acquisition secures League of Legends slot for Dignitas

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), the parent company of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, has agreed in principle to buy a majority stake in professional League of Legends team Clutch Gaming.

ESPN has obtained documents indicating HBSE will acquire a $20m (€18m) stake from the team’s current owner, the Houston Rockets.

HBSE already has an esports property in its portfolio, Dignitas Gaming (previously Team Dignitas), which it acquired in 2016. It plans to rebrand Clutch Gaming to Dignitas, a move that secures Dignitas a slot in the League of Legends series for the first time in nearly two years. The team was denied entry as part of the NA League of Legends franchising process in October 2017.

According to the report, a new entity will be formed to govern both the existing Digitas portfolio as well as the newly acquired side. HBSE will own 68.2 per cent of the new property while the Rockets would maintain a 31.8-per-cent stake.

The new entity, known as Mal Pais, is being valued at $47.5m with Clutch being valued at $30m and Dignitas at $17.5m. It will be led by Dignitas chief executive Michael Prindiville.

This is the first time a League of Legends Championship Series team has been sold, which helps to provide a benchmark for franchises in the competition. OpTic Gaming and Echo Fox are also in the process of raising funds selling by majority stakes in their organisations.

Read this: Global relevance | How the Philly 76ers are using acquisitions to expand internationally

Watch this: The traditional sports properties buying esports teams

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