The Astralis Group announced yesterday that they had received approval to trade on the US-based OTCQX Best Market. The company claims this will "allow US-based investors to easily trade Astralis shares and to gain exposure in the growing esports industry", in a move aimed at increasing liquidity for the Danish organization.
Initially reported by Ritzau.dk, the news is the latest in a string of efforts by the group to improve their financial situation. Astralis CEO Anders Hørsholt is quoted as saying, “We are pleased to have qualified to trade on the OTCQX. It will give our current and potential new shareholders an additional and larger regulated platform from which they can conveniently trade our common share and it provides added exposure to an expanding US market of esports investors.”
What is OTCQX?
OTCQX is a US market for companies already listed on other international stock exchanges that wish to gain investment from within the US. In their own words, OTCQX "enables global companies to better access support US investors and distribute information in the U.S. public markets without the complexity and cost of the US exchange listing".
Astralis is already publicly traded in Denmark via the Nasdaq First North Growth Market Denmark, with this move aimed at making it easier for American investors to get involved. “Trading on OTCQX will ensure increased access for US institutional and retail investors looking to invest in our company and proven business model and it provides an opportunity to be a part of Astralis' continued development as a leader in the growing, global esports industry,” Hørsholt told Ritzau.
"We are delighted to welcome our first Danish company, Copenhagen-based esports leader Astralis A/S, as they join an esteemed roster of companies and mark our OTCQX 500-company milestone," said Jason Paltrowitz, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services at OTC Markets Group, who also mentioned the positive effect this would have on Astralis’ liquidity.
Astralis' quest for increased revenue
As mentioned, this is not the first attempt by the group to increase their financial worth, with the history of Astralis an interesting case study in esports monetization. They are by some distance the most successful team and brand in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive history, having won the last three Majors and four of the last six overall, but have struggled to turn that into revenue.
Meanwhile, organizations like G2, Cloud9, and FaZe have seen markedly less success in tier one esports on a global level, but seem far better at turning a profit based on the marketing and lifestyle arms of their business. By contrast, "player-owned" Astralis has struggled to grow that aspect of their business despite being the most successful org in CSGO.
Previous attempts involved listing on the Danish NASDAQ and trying to become something of a talent farm, which initially worked out well with the sale of Patrick "es3tag" Hansen to Cloud9. The group also diversified into League of Legends with the acquisition of the Origen brand, which was later absorbed into the Astralis group following the split from parent company RFRSH, owners of the Blast Pro Series.
Astralis recently sold star AWPer Nicolai "device" Reedtz to Swedish org Ninjas in Pyjamas, in part due to the threat of losing him for free when his contract expired at the end of 2021. The move has certainly not made them a better team in the short term, and this latest attempt to increase liquidity suggests the group is not ready or able to spend big on a replacement for their outgoing star.