Special Report: Blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands is back on the M&A trail.

Animoca Brands (ASX:AB1) announced yesterday that it had entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire a 100 per cent equity stake in Leade.rs, Inc.

Based in France and the US, Leade.rs Inc is an established events management platform with direct access to a network of keynote speakers, comprising a who’s who of Silicon Valley tech luminaries.

Customers can pick what kind of speaker they want based on the specific details of their event, and Leade.rs Inc does the rest.

“This acquisition is less around blockchain, and more around the AI accelerator space,” Animoca Brands chairman Yat Siu told Stockhead.

“It’s got a Silicon Valley angle which brings with it some famous Silicon Valley investors. And it’s meaningful in the sense that it’s got some heavy hitters on the register.”

Those heavy hitters include LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (who also sits on the board of Microsoft) and Phil Libin, co-founder of Evernote.

“So if you’ve launched a startup but want to have access to Reid Hoffman, or Marissa Meyer, then this platform provides that and that’s what’s so special about it,” Siu said.

Making friends in the Valley

It’s been a busy few months of deals for Animoca Brands, which recently announced three strategic partnerships and made a separate acquisition as it looks to establish a first-mover advantage in the $190 billion gaming market.

Most of those partnerships were based around Animoca Brands’ core blockchain gaming products. However, the Leade.rs Inc acquisition forms part of the company’s strategy to establish a foothold in the global tech hub of Silicon Valley.

Leade.rs was co-founded by Loic Le Meur, a high-profile investor who’s made and won significant bets on various tech success stories including LinkedIn, Slack and Evernote. As part of the deal, Le Meur will stay on with Animoca Brands as a venture partner.

The Leade.rs Inc network has around 300 speakers with expertise across 11 different core fields including crypto, AI and entrepreneurship.

The core strategic initiative behind the acquisition is to provide mentoring and investment opportunities for companies associated with Zeroth, an existing Animoca Brands subsidiary.

Zeroth is “the world’s first artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain focused accelerator,” Animoca Brands said.

Leveraging the benefits of Leade.rs Inc will “assist in growth and expansion opportunities in Silicon Valley, providing both Animoca Brands and Zeroth with an anchor point and powerful networking presence in the world’s most significant technology centre”.

By the numbers

To complete the deal, Animoca Brands will purchase 100 per cent of the issued shares in Leade.rs Inc, totalling 4,448,991 preferred shares and 8,282,979 common shares.

Animoca Brands will pay an upfront consideration of $US500,000, comprised of US$165,971.81 in cash and 2,592,893 units of common Animoca Brands stock valued at 15.5 cents.

Two annual revenue milestones across the first two years of the deal have also been established. If the milestones are met, existing Leade.rs Inc shareholders will be entitled to a performance payment of up to $800,000 for each period.

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This story was developed in collaboration with Animoca Brands, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
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