Buffalo Next: The Pegulas take a big step into financial services |

Terry Pegula is expanding his push into financial services.

His company East Resources Acquisition Co. has reached a merger agreement with asset manager and life insurer Abacus Settlements and Longevity Market Assets.

The acquisition is part of the Buffalo Bills and Sabers owners’ drive to expand their family’s investments and diversify their assets.

Pegula made the purchase through an entity he set up two years ago called East Resources Acquisition Co., which raised more than $300 million from investors, initially for the purpose of to make acquisitions in the depressed oil and natural gas industry.

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Buffalo Bills training camp

Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula at training camp last month.

Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

But East Resources has never struck any energy deals and in recent months has focused on financial services as the deadline nears when it must either strike a deal or return its money to investors. East earlier this year extended its deadline to complete an acquisition.

East Resources evaluated more than 40 business combination opportunities, researching more than 15 targets and making eight offers, before deciding on this deal, according to Adam Gusky, the company’s chief investment officer.

“Terry Pegula has stayed true to his disciplined, value-driven nature, refusing to overpay just to sign a deal,” Gusky said on a conference call with investors. “Even after this exhaustive research process, the opportunity to partner with Abacus was so compelling that we chose to deposit additional funds into the trust.”

The transaction is expected to close as early as the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals and East Resources shareholder approval.

Pegula, which derived much of its multi-billion dollar fortune from oil and natural gas exploration and production, has sold off many of its assets in that space and branched out into other businesses. commercial.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company, now known as Abacus Life, will be listed on the Nasdaq as “ABAL” through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), which is incorporated strictly for raise capital through an initial public offering. or to acquire or merge with an existing business.

As part of the agreement, Abacas Life will be listed on the Nasdaq. It will receive up to $98 million in cash to lower its cost of capital, scale its current portfolio and begin securing additional policies.

“Abacus’ leadership has built a leading business in the life settlements industry with a deep management team, each with decades of experience,” said Pegula, Chairman, CEO and President of East Resources, in a statement. “We are very fortunate to have found such a great partner for SPAC and, more importantly, for shareholders, a company that is a highly scalable market leader, backed by stable financial performance and strong growth potential. “

Pegula, 71, founded East Resources, a special purpose acquisition company, in 1983.

East Resources also supports Atlanta-based Bison Wealth, a form of fund management for some of the world’s other wealthiest business entities. Pegula also owns a recording studio and record label in Nashville.

Pegula acquired the Sabers for $189 million in 2011 and the Bills for $1.4 billion in 2014. Bison Wealth was established by him and his wife Kim’s family office, known as East Asset Management, in collaboration with Teton Capital Partners, its operating partner, founded by Brad Ball.

In addition, East Asset Management, as well as Callodine, founded by Jim Morrow in 2018, have been active in asset management and alternative private credit. In the past few years alone, East Asset Management and Callodine completed six transactions, including the purchase of a majority stake in Buffalo-based venture capital firm Rand Capital; a $400 million asset-based lending activity; a $1.3 billion private real estate lending platform and the takeover of Manning & Napier, a $20 billion-plus asset manager.

Pegula has a net worth of $7.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, ranking him 271st on the list of the world’s richest people. And the bills are now worth nearly $3 billion, Sportico notes, more than double what it paid for the franchise. He is also working on building a $1.4 billion stadium for the Bills in Orchard Park.

As for Abacus, it has underwritten life insurance policies in the United States for the past two decades, with a market share of nearly 20% and about four times the growth in origination over the past six years. , with nearly $1.3 billion in face value of policies. purchased from 2019 to 2021. The combined company will have an estimated post-deal enterprise value of $618 million.

Abacus Life has 59 employees, with approximately $950 million in policies. Following the closing of the transaction, Abacus’ existing management team, led by CEO Jay Jackson, will remain in place.

“This transaction is an important milestone and will help accelerate the scale of our platform to increase penetration in the potential growing $233 billion market of annual life insurance settlements,” Jackson said. .

716 store asks fans to sign ‘BILLIEVE’ wall

A year after opening its first physical store, Store 716 has become a go-to destination for Buffalo Bills fans.

From the start of Bills’ training camp, fans were encouraged to come to the Olmstead Avenue store in Depew to write ‘BILLIEVE’ on the wall outside the entrance. Hundreds of Bills fans signed the wall, from as far away as Florida, Texas and Nebraska.

The 716 store operated exclusively online, before opening its first outlet last September. The store designs and sells a wide variety of Buffalo-themed clothing and merchandise.

Want to know more? Two stories to catch up with you:

Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing economy of Buffalo Niagara – from real estate to healthcare to startups. Learn more at BuffaloNext.com.


Recent news related to the Buffalo Niagara economy

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Five Buff Readingshello Next:

1. Pickup in WNY Housing Inventory Means More Opportunities and Time for Buyers. Homebuyers in Western New York are starting to breathe easier and taking longer to make decisions now that there are more homes for sale on the market and they need less act quickly. But they still can’t hang around. And that doesn’t mean they get a deal on the houses, which are now priced much higher than they would have been a year or two ago.

2. The Silo City project caught in an acrimonious dispute. A legal battle has erupted within the Silo City project team, after the construction manager of the $41million redevelopment project was replaced amid allegations of shoddy work and poor performance which, according to the promoter, now require costly repairs and a one-year delay.

3. Buffalo and Rochester developers team up for affordable housing project near Broadway Market. A Rochester supportive housing developer is partnering with Buffalo’s Cedarland Development Group on a $20.5 million project that will bring a mix of housing options to 38 vacant city-owned lots on Playter Street , on the east side of Buffalo.

4. Settlement leads to abandonment of Gates Circle apartment project. Seeking to avoid new development next door, the non-profit owner of Canterbury Woods is buying a strip of land next to his Gates Circle facility to ensure it will be set aside as green space instead of a building of six stories that had been approved for the site.

5. Green Organization spends $13 million on two apartment complexes in Amherst. A growing suburban apartment developer has acquired two properties in Amherst from Clover Management for $13.35 million and plans to spend another $4 million upgrading the communities even as it prepares to undertake a $45 million project nearby.

The Buffalo Next team gives you insight into the economic revitalization of the region. Email tips to [email protected] or contact Associate Business Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.

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Stephen V. Lee