Black Ridge Oil & Gas, a near-dormant, five-year-old Minneapolis oil company controlled by Las Vegas gambling executive Lyle Berman, is trying to raise up to $120.75 million through a related corporation to make acquisitions, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. is a so-called “blank check company” that was formed to pursue energy deals. It would redeem its public shares for whatever is left in the till on a pro rata basis if it cannot execute a deal within 21 months.
The lead underwriter is EarlyBirdCapital of New York.
Black Ridge Oil launched in 2010, along with a lot of other small speculative oil operators that focused on the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana. Its stock peaked at about $1.65 per share in 2012. It trades lately at about 2 cents per share.
Many of the small operators, who sought to mimic once-soaring Northern Oil & Gas by buying land in oil country and then participating as a minority owner when oil-and-gas operators drilled the fields. However, depressed oil prices in recent years have eliminated many players.
Kenneth DeCubellis has been chairman and CEO of Black Ridge since November 2011 and has the same role with the new acquisition company. DeCubellis, a manager with Exxon Mobil in Houston from 1996-2006, was CEO of Altra Inc., a California biofuels company before he joined Black Ridge.
The board includes Berman, his son, Bradley, and Joe Lahti, another former gambling industry executive.
Lyle Berman, 75, is a nationally known poker player who after he sold family-owned Berman Buckskin in 1979, focused increasingly on the gaming industry in Minnesota and Las Vegas.
Berman started Grand Casinos to help finance and manage Indian gaming 26 years ago, which evolved into Lakes Gaming. Berman, who lives in Las Vegas, merged the Minnesota-based casino-management firm into Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment in 2015.