SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): February 18, 2022
ALLIED ESPORTS ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction|
745 Fifth Ave, Suite 500
New York, NY 10151
(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
17877 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 300
Irvine, California, 92614
(Former Name or Former Address, if Changed Since Last Report)
Check the appropriate box below if the Form 8-K filing is intended to simultaneously satisfy the filing obligation of the registrant under any of the following provisions (see General Instruction A.2. below):
|☐||Written communications pursuant to Rule 425 under the Securities Act (17 CFR 230.425)|
|☐||Soliciting material pursuant to Rule 14a-12 under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14a-12)|
|☐||Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 14d-2(b) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14d-2(b))|
|☐||Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 13e-4(c) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.13e 4(c))|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock||AESE||The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC|
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an emerging growth company as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933 (§230.405 of this chapter) or Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (§240.12b-2 of this chapter).
Emerging growth company ☒
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
|Item 5.02.||Departure of Directors or Certain Officers; Election of Directors; Appointment of Certain Officers; Compensatory Arrangements of Certain Officers.|
Resignation of Chief Executive Officer
On February 18, 2022, Libing (Claire) Wu resigned as Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc. (the “Company”). In connection with her resignation, the Company entered into a Separation Agreement and Release with Ms. Wu (the “Release”) pursuant to which, among other things, Ms. Wu. released the Company from any and all claims she may have against the Company (subject to certain exclusions), and the Company agreed to provide Ms. Wu with certain separation benefits, including $750,000 (gross) in severance pay payable over an 18-month period, accelerated vesting of 200,000 unvested stock options previously granted to Ms. Wu pursuant to an Option Agreement dated effective July 13, 2021, extended the exercise period to exercise such options to July 13, 2031, respectively, and accelerated vesting of 80,000 shares of restricted stock previously granted to Ms. Wu pursuant to an Executive Restricted Stock Agreement dated July 13, 2021. The Release also contains a customary non-disparagement provision.
The foregoing description of the material terms of the Release is not complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text thereof, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 10.1 to this Current Report on Form 8-K and is incorporated herein by reference.
Appointment of Interim Chief Executive Officer
Effective February 18, 2022, the Company appointed Lyle Berman, the Company’s co-Chairman and President, as Interim Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. Berman relinquished his position as President. Lyle Berman has served as a director of the Company since May 2017 (when the Company at the time of such election was Black Ridge Acquisition Corp.). Mr. Berman has been a director of Sow Good Inc., f/k/a Black Ridge Oil & Gas, Inc., since October 2016, and is also a director of Golden Entertainment, Inc., Mill City Ventures III, Ltd., Auego Affinity Marketing, Inc., Poker52, LLC, Redstone American Grill, Inc., LubeZone, Inc., Drake’s Organic Spirits, LLC, and InsurTech Holdings, LLC. Since June 1990, Mr. Berman has been the chairman and chief executive officer of Berman Consulting Corporation, a private consulting firm he founded. Mr. Berman began his career with Berman Buckskin, his family’s leather business, which he helped grow into a major specialty retailer with 27 outlets. After selling Berman Buckskin to W.R. Grace in 1979, Mr. Berman continued as president and chief executive officer and led the company to become one the country’s largest retail leather chains, with over 200 stores nationwide. In 1990, Mr. Berman participated in the founding of Grand Casinos, Inc. Mr. Berman is credited as one of the early visionaries in the development of casinos outside of the traditional gaming markets of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In less than five years, the company opened eight casino resorts in four states. In 1994, Mr. Berman financed the initial development of Rainforest Cafe. He served as the chairman and chief executive officer from 1994 unti1 2000. In October 1995, Mr. Berman was honored with the B’nai B’rith “Great American Traditions Award.” In April 1996, he received the Gaming Executive of the Year Award; in 2004, Mr. Berman was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame; and in 2009, he received the Casino Lifetime Achievement Award from Raving Consulting & Casino Journal. In 1998, Lakes Entertainment, Inc. was formed. In 2002, as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Lakes Entertainment, Inc., Mr. Berman was instrumental in creating the World Poker Tour. Mr. Berman served as the executive chairman of the board of WPT Enterprises, Inc. (later known as Voyager Oil & Gas, Inc. and Emerald Oil, Inc.) from its inception in February 2002 until July 2013. Mr. Berman also served as a director of PokerTek, Inc. from January 2005 until October 2014, including serving as chairman of the board from January 2005 until October 2011. Mr. Berman has a degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota.
In connection with Mr. Berman’s appointment as Interim Chief Executive Officer, the Company agreed to pay Mr. Berman an annual base salary equal to $300,000, on an at-will employment basis.
Appointment of President
Effective February 18, 2022, the Company appointed Yinghua Chen, the Company’s Chief Investment Officer and a director of the Company, as the President and Secretary of the Company as well. Yinghua Chen is a Co-Founder of Aupera Technologies, a leading video AI technology company, where she is responsible for corporate financing, business development, and strategic partnership. She has successfully raised multiple rounds of funding for Aupera, including from Silicon Valley giant Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX). Prior to this, she served as the Executive Vice President of Anthill Resources, a natural resources investment company in Canada, where she oversaw business operations and investment activities. Ms. Chen is also the former Managing Director of China for The Cavendish Group, a UK B2B media and public relations company. In that role, Ms. Chen built up subscriber networks for over ten vertical industry media products and managed the Group’s strategic relationship with the Boao Forum for Asia. Ms. Chen was also part of the founding team of The Balloch Group, a boutique investment banking firm, later acquired by Canaccord Genuity, where she specialized in financial, pharmaceutical, resources and media industry transactions. Ms. Chen holds an EMBA from the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of International Business and Economics.
In connection with Ms. Chen’s appointment as President, the Company agreed to pay Ms. Chen an annual base salary equal to $275,000, on an at-will employment basis.
Board of Directors
On February 18, 2022, Jerry Lewin resigned as a Class C Director of the Company. In appreciation of Mr. Lewin’s services to the Company as a director, Chair of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Audit Committee, the Company paid to Mr. Lewin $25,000, accelerated vesting of 40,000 unvested stock options previously granted to Mr Lewin pursuant to an Option Agreement dated effective May 6, 2021, and extended the exercise period to exercise such options to May 6, 2031
On February 18, 2022, Company’s Board of Directors appointed Yushi Guo to serve as a Class C Director on the Board in the vacancy created by Mr. Lewin’s resignation. Mr. Yushi Guo has broad experience in management consulting, board advisory and entrepreneurship. He is the founder and CEO of PanoSoar Management Technology Co., Ltd, a company that builds technological platforms for small and medium-sized businesses. In 2011, Mr. Guo founded Beijing Panorfinity Consulting Co., Ltd., which offers management consulting, board advisory and executive search services. Prior to founding Beijing Panorfinity Consulting Co., Ltd., Mr. Guo served at a client partner at Korn Ferry International from 2009 - 2011 and Gallup Consulting from 2003 - 2009. Mr. Guo currently serves as an independent non-executive director of Ourgame International Holdings Limited. Mr. Guo holds a Master of Science in Ecology and Bachelor of Science from Beijing Forestry University, and Master of Business Administration from Emory University.
Upon admission to the Board of Directors, Mr. Guo will Chair the Compensation Committee and serve as a member of the Audit Committee.
A press release announcing the foregoing matters is attached hereto as Exhibit 99.1.
|Item 9.01.||Financial Statement and Exhibits.|
|10.1||Separation Agreement and Release|
|99.1||Company Press Release dated February 18, 2022|
|104||Cover Page Interactive Data File (embedded within the Inline XBRL document)|
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned hereunto duly authorized.
Dated: February 18, 2022
|ALLIED ESPORTS ENTERTAINMENT, INC.|
|By:||/s/ Lyle Berman|
|Lyle Berman, Interim Chief Executive Officer|