Immortals raise $30 million, enter bidding for OpTic Gaming

Immortals CEO Ari Segal told ESPN on Wednesday that the team has closed a $30 million Series B funding round. Provided by Riot Games

Immortals have completed a $30 million Series B funding round and will rebrand their holding company and undergo executive changes that include founder Noah Whinston stepping down from a managerial role in the company, the team told ESPN on Wednesday.

Immortals will rebrand their holding company to be named Immortals Gaming Club, which owns the Immortals, Los Angeles Valiant and MIBR brands. The company has also acquired Gamers Club, the leading Brazilian game matchmaking platform.

Immortals CEO Ari Segal told ESPN the company will use the $30 million to fulfill their franchise payments to the Overwatch League, expand Gamers Club and seek new opportunities in the market.

Among those opportunities, Immortals is currently one of a few bidders looking to acquire part of Infinite Esports & Entertainment, which would include OpTic Gaming and their League of Legends Championship Series spot, sources familiar with that sale process told ESPN. The sale is currently being facilitated by investment bank J.P. Morgan Chase. Segal declined to comment on Immortals' bid on Infinite.

Infinite first went up for majority sale in January, originally seeking $150 million for all of their business, which includes OpTic Gaming and their Overwatch League team, the Houston Outlaws. If Immortals were to win that bid, they would not be allowed to retain the Outlaws due to league-wide multi-ownership rules, league sources said.

The $30 million raise comes from several existing stakeholders, including L.A. Live owner AEG, Lionsgate, D.C. United and Swansea City A.F.C. co-owner Steve Kaplan, former eBay and HP CEO Meg Whitman, and March Capital Partners founder Gregory Milken and his father, Milken Family Foundation co-founder Michael. New investors in the group include John Griffin, Oaktree Capital managing director George Leiva and March Capital Partners.

Whinston has stepped down from his role as executive chairman, which he was given in December after former Immortals president Ari Segal succeeded him as CEO. Whinston declined to comment on his departure.

"Noah is a significant holder of company stock," Segal told ESPN. "He is no longer with the company in an official capacity, but I actually talked to him [Tuesday]. The startup experience is turbulent; esports is a tough industry, and our company now is a mature operating business. I very much appreciated that Noah tapped me on the shoulder and felt that I would be capable of leading the company in this next phase. He's not in the office day-to-day, but as an important shareholder, has every desire to succeed."

While in college at Northwestern from 2012 to 2015, Whinston became one of the highest esports winners on daily fantasy sports websites, such as now-defunct Vulcun. He later met a handful of investors, including the Milken family, Lionsgate Interactive Ventures president Peter Levin and Kaplan, who desired to launch a pro League of Legends team. In October 2015, those investors and Whinston launched Immortals.

Under his tenure, Immortals became one of the most successful League of Legends teams in North America, founded the Los Angeles Valiant in the Overwatch League and acquired and rebooted MIBR by bringing on former Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players of SK Gaming.

Immortals no longer operates in League of Legends, with the team not being chosen as a franchise partner by Riot Games in October 2017. If the company's bid is selected for Infinite, the Immortals organization would return to League of Legends for the first time in nearly two years.

Immortals and the Los Angeles Valiant are set to host the third Overwatch League homestand event at The Novo by Microsoft in L.A. Live in August. In addition to the L.A. Live plaza, AEG also owns The Novo, Microsoft Theater and Staples Center, as well as the Los Angeles Kings and LA Galaxy sports teams. Starting in 2020, the Valiant are expected to compete in home games at Microsoft Theater.