Sunday, January 31, 2021
Business Tech and media veterans like Reid Hoffman, Joanna Coles and Kevin Mayer...

Tech and media veterans like Reid Hoffman, Joanna Coles and Kevin Mayer are making big bets on SPACs to acquire media companies. Here are 11 high-profile blank-check companies to watch.

Top rate

Media SPACS: Reid Hoffman, Joanna Coles, Kevin Mayer

Left to precise: Reid Hoffman, Joanna Coles, Kevin Mayer.

Getty Photography

This memoir is accessible completely to Industry Insider subscribers.
Change into an Insider and birth finding out now.

  • A rising amount of SPACs are specializing in acquiring media firms and taking them public. 
  • Some media firms own long gone public by SPACs whereas media vets admire Charlie Ergen and Joanna Coles are spearheading SPACs.
  • Insider identified 11 media SPACs price observing in digital media, telecommunications, and leisure.
  • Search the advice of with Industry Insider’s homepage for extra experiences.

A rising amount of consultants and merchants are taking a seek for to benefit on media by particular-motive acquisition firms.

SPACs are smooth-test firms build as much as construct and take firms public, on the total with much less scrutiny, price and time than an extraordinary preliminary public offering. SPACs own been viewed severely by some as riskier for merchants, however they’ve boomed correct by the last year.

Some $82.8 billion was raised by 248 SPACs in 2020, up from the $13.6 billion raised by precise 59 SPACs the prior year, per J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Read extra: A speed of media and promoting firms are going public by SPACs. Here is why Playboy, CuriosityStream, and Digital Media Alternate recommendations are making a wager on smooth-test deals.

While the massive majority of SPACs own enthusiastic with areas admire abilities or healthcare, media firms are entering into the dwelling, too. Mountainous names admire Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Neighborhood Nine founder Ben Lerer and used Hearst chief mutter officer Joanna Coles are spearheading SPACs enthusiastic with acquiring media firms. And media firms admire Playboy and CuriosityStream own honest currently long gone public by SPACs.

“Try to be a mountainous and credible title so to need institutional capital to enact it,” said Chris Cunningham, founding father of funding company C2 Ventures. “A SPAC must be tied to a healthy substitute.”

Insider spoke to a handful of consultants including executives, consultants, analysts, and bankers to title 11 media-focused SPACs that are price observing this year.

Ascendant Digital Acquisition Corp.

Mark Gerhard

Ascendant Digital Acquisition Corp CEO Impress Gerhard.


IPO label: $414 million

Ascendant Digital Acquisition Corp is led by longtime tech and leisure executive Impress Gerhard, who is doubtlessly ideally suited identified because the used CEO of UK games developer and writer Jagex, owner of the free online multiplayer roleplay game RuneScape. He furthermore beforehand ran AI company PlayFusion and serves as vp of the board at, a substitute affiliation for the games industry.

Ascendant Digital Acquisition Corp is buying for firms that it considers piece of the “attention economic system,” including digital leisure, film and television, song and e-sports firms. The SPAC is particularly fascinated by firms with intellectual property that will potentially be feeble for franchises and firms that own stable customer retention.

“The eye economic system ecosystem is extremely fragmented with a full bunch of mutter homeowners and creators, publishing and distribution platforms and other firms offering enabling technologies and companies and products to other industry participants and consumers, heaps of which are privately owned,” the SPAC says on its web page.

Its management furthermore involves Riaan Hodgson, one other used Jagex exec; and David Gomberg, who cofounded Playfusion with Gerhard and Hodgson.

Conx Acquisition Corp.

Charlie Ergen

Dilapidated Dish CEO Charlie Ergen

Kim Kulish/Corbis by Getty Photography

IPO label: $750 million

Conx Acquisition Corp was formed by wireless exec and billionaire Charlie Ergen, the cofounder and chairman of Dish. He stepped down as CEO of Dish in 2017 and oversees the corporate’s prolonged-term substitute improvement as chairman.

“[Ergen] if fact be told knows what he’s doing with combining media, telecoms and abilities … the burly stack,” said Igor Shoifot, funding associate at TMT Investments, a publicly traded funding company. “[Conx] can compose an very ideally suited media conglomerate.”

The SPAC is targeting tech, media and telecommunication firms that will tap into the group’s trip. In its S-1, Conx Acquisition Corp. cites the growth of 5G abilities as an opportunity.

Longtime Dish worker Jason Kiser serves because the SPAC’s CEO and director.

Falcon Capital Acquisition

Alan Mnuchin

Alan Mnuchin (precise).

Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan by Getty Photography

IPO label: $345 million

Falcon Capital Acquisition is led by Alan Mnuchin, a longtime media banker who has labored at Ariliam Neighborhood, Endure Stearns, and Goldman Sachs. He formed the funding company AGM Companions in 2003, which  handled $80 million in transactions.

Mnuchin is the brother of used US Treasury Secretary and hedge fund supervisor Steven Mnuchin. His father Robert Mnuchin is a used prolonged-time Goldman Sachs exec.

Mnuchin’s SPAC is enthusiastic with “media, digital media and person abilities, interactive leisure and related industries,” according to its S-1.

Falcon Capital Acquisition’s group of workers furthermore involves CFO Saif Rahman, who is managing director at Ariliam Neighborhood; and director Jeff Sagansky, a Hollywood executive who furthermore heads the Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp. SPAC that took mobile gaming company Skillz public in December 2020.

Wooded space Avenue Acquisition Corp.

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal.

Diane Bondareff/AP Photography for Papa John’s International, Inc.

IPO label: $300 million

A gaggle of top leisure and media consultants including used Elliott Management COO Keith Horn, used Disney COO Tom Staggs, used TikTok CEO and Disney exec Kevin Mayer are on the help of the Wooded space Avenue SPAC, which was formed by leisure finance company Wooded space Avenue closing year.

The SPAC is hunting for media, tech, and telecom firms.

When the SPAC started Trading in November, Zachary Tarica, Wooded space Avenue CEO and chairman and chief funding officer of the SPAC, urged Time restrict that it had been contacted by bigger than 50 firms. Wooded space Avenue Acquisition Corp’s targets consist of firms with intellectual property and firms changing person habits, per its S-1.

“They’ve bought a dependable shot,” said Michael Kassan, CEO of strategic advisory and substitute improvement company MediaLink. “Other folks admire Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs are ideally suited operators and deal guys — Keith Horn, equally, relative to his trip at Elliott.”

The group of workers’s advisors and directors furthermore consist of used NBA star-modified into-investor Shaquille O’Neal, human rights recommend Martin Luther King Jr. III, and Salil Mehta, who has served as an executive at media firms including Fox, NBCUniversal and Disney.

Neighborhood Nine Acquisition Corp.

Ben Lerer, Thrillist

Ben Lerer.

Courtesy of Thrillist

IPO label: $230 million

Discovery-backed Neighborhood Nine Media formed a SPAC earlier in January to need money and construct other digital media firms. Neighborhood Nine Media’s sites consist of Thrillist, NowThis, and the Dodo.

Neighborhood Nine Media CEO and chairman Ben Lerer is furthermore leading Neighborhood Nine Acquisition Corp. Lerer is furthermore a managing associate at venture capital company Hippeau Ventures that he based mostly with his father Kenneth Lerer. Neighborhood Nine Media’s president and director Brian Sugar and CFO Sean Macnew furthermore are on the SPAC’s administration group of workers.

Read extra: 10 digital media firms that are hot acquisition targets, including TheSkimm and FuboTV

Neighborhood Nine Acquisition Corp. plans to raise Neighborhood Nine Media whereas acquiring one other company in “the digital media and adjacent industries,” per its S-1 submitting. That will furthermore consist of firms in social media, e-commerce, events, digital publishing, or marketing and marketing.

Ana Milicevic, principal and cofounder at Sparrow Advisers, said that Neighborhood Nine’s SPAC in total is a manner for Neighborhood Nine to ticket a holding company that opponents legacy media brands and magazine publishers.

“I contemplate SPACs as a new twist on what a holding company would possibly well well furthermore aloof be, with the flexibility to need the precise amount of money and fund the precise operational draw,” she said.

With venture capital merchants cooling on the digital media sector, SPACs can provide firms in the dwelling an different entry to funds to encourage them effect extra scale, faster.

“The Neighborhood Nine SPAC is to claim, ‘We dangle these digital publishers need far extra scale to work, attributable to this truth we are going to search out for merger companions’,” said Terence Kawaja, CEO of funding financial institution LUMA Companions. “They’ve already bought the draw and are using the SPAC as a automobile to quit … If I am an investor, I acquire a lot extra consolation out of incandescent what that’s seemingly to search out admire.”

Northern Large title Funding Corp II

joanna coles

Joanna Coles.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty

IPO Price: $300 million

Northern Large title Funding Corp II is, because the title would imply, the 2d SPAC formed by media executive Joanna Coles and SPAC faded Jonathan Ledecky. Their first, Northern Large title Acquisition, went public in November. It announced a $1.6 billion deal to take pet subscription service Barbox public the following month.

Coles is a successfully-identified media executive who beforehand served as chief mutter officer at Hearst. She’s currently an executive producer on Freeform and Hulu TV sequence “The Courageous Kind” and sits on the boards of Snap, Sonos, Blue Mistral, and Density Tool.

“I’d compose a wager where Joanna is enthusiastic,” said MediaLink’s Kassan.

Ledecky, meanwhile, is the co-owner of NHL franchise the New York Islanders and has furthermore been enthusiastic with other SPACs including Pivotal Acquisition Corp and Endeavor Acquisition Corp.

Northern Large title Funding II is on the hunt for firms in the digital media home, per the SPAC’s S-1, which was filed earlier in January. Or not it is furthermore targeting firms in the areas of class, self-care, wellness, fashion, e-commerce and subscriptions. 

Oyster Enterprises Acquisition Corp.

GettyImages 1155564963

Heath Freeman.

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Photography

IPO label: $200 million

Hedgefund exec modified into newspaper baron Heath Freeman runs Alden World Capital, the finance company that has got around 200 newspapers including The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Put up, and The New York On a traditional basis Recordsdata. Alden has been criticized by editorial workers at its newspapers for its engaging and painful price-lowering. Columbia Journalism Overview described Alden closing year as “doubtlessly the most feared owner in American journalism.”

Freeman’s newest venture is the SPAC Oyster Enterprises Acquisition Corp., which aims to make investments in abilities, media, financial companies and products, dependable estate, person merchandise, industrials, hospitality and leisure firms.

Eric Peckham, Techcrunch’s used media critic who now runs the Monetizing Media e-newsletter, speculated that the SPAC is a manner for Freeman to need extra money for newspaper acquisitions.

Reinvent Expertise Companions

reid hoffman

Reinvent Expertise Companions co-lead director Reid Hoffman.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

IPO Price: $600 million (and $200 million for Reinvent Z)

Necessary Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and merchants Reid Hoffman and Impress Pincus are the brains on the help of Reinvent Expertise Companions.

Hoffman, the billionaire founding father of LinkedIn, and Pincus, founding father of social-gaming company Zynga, launched their $600 million SPAC in August 2020 with the target of finding a unicorn tech startup to make investments in.

“We dangle this disconnect between the amount of scaled abilities firms and the amount of those firms that if truth be told gallop public every year has created a magnificent backlog of skill targets for our smooth-test company,” the prospectus said.

The pair went on to fabricate one other SPAC, Reinvent Expertise Companions Z, in November. The 2d, smaller SPAC equally is targeting firms in abilities.

“Impress and the group of workers know the inner workings of their industry on all ranges and realize the roles played by just a few system of the ecosystem,” said TMT Funding’s funding associate Igor Shoifot. “They would own hundreds stress-free, and not worthy agonize, identifying the lacking — and most wanted — pieces of the puzzle.”

Hoffman particularly, by his trip at LinkedIn and PayPal — and later at venture capital company Greylock — understands every aspect of the industry, Shoifot added.

“[Hoffman] will not ideally suited procure the precise fit, so crucial in SPAC substitute, however furthermore knows how to scale up firms at a dizzying scramble,” said Shoifot.

Spinning Eagle

Harry Sloan

Spinning Eagle Acquisition Corp CEO Harry Sloan.

Ann Johansson/Getty Photography

IPO label: $1.5 billion

Spinning Eagle is the seventh SPAC build up by used CBS Entertainment president Jeff Sgansky and used MGM CEO Harry Sloan. Prior SPACs from the pair of Hollywood executives own taken firms including story sports making a wager platform DraftKings and esports platform Skillz public.

“Harry [Sloan] and Jeff Sagansky … wrote the guide on this,” said MediaLink’s Kassan.

Spinning Eagle says in filings with the SEC that whereas its mixture aim “will not be puny to a particular industry, sector, or geographic build” it intends to capitalize on its administration group of workers’s “established worldwide relationships and running trip,” suggesting a media or leisure-related merger would possibly well be doubtlessly the most glaring candidate.

Spinning Eagle furthermore said that if it does not utilize the total money it has raised on merger deals, it would furthermore use some of the funds to birth yet one other new SPAC.

Supernova Companions Acquisition

spencer rascoff zillow

Supernova co-chair Spencer Rascoff.

Richard Drew/AP Photography

IPO label: $402.5 million

Serial entrepreneur and investor Spencer Rascoff, the co-founding father of tech firms Zillow and, is on the help of Supernova Companions, which is looking out for to construct an organization in the tech home. 

The SPAC is co-chaired by Alexander Klabin, Sotheby’s Monetary Products and companies executive chairman and led by tech M&A specialist Robert Reid, formerly a senior managing director at Blackstone, who is now Supernova’s CEO.

Supernova says on its web page it is far taking a seek for to associate “with an advantaged development company that advantages from thematic shifts and tech-enabled trends.”

The Recordsdata reported earlier in January that Supernova had held discussions with BuzzFeed, citing of us mindful of the danger.

Read extra: After the BuzzFeed-HuffPost deal, extra digital media tie-usacould be coming, and SPACs are circling

A spokeswoman for BuzzFeed declined to comment on The Recordsdata’s memoir on the time.

“Billions of funding bucks are sitting on the sidelines now, aggressively chasing and competing for mutter-pushed opportunities that shall be supplied to a frothy and liquid public market increasingly pushed by new tech-pushed platforms admire Robinhood,” Peter Csathy, founding father of advisory Creatv Media, urged Insider in December. “Robinhood feeds off younger, inexperienced merchants, and BuzzFeed is precisely the manufacture of excessive profile childhood-pushed label that logically would possibly well well furthermore take ideally suited thing about these trends.”  

Loading One thing is loading.


Digital Media

Chevron icon It signifies an expandable allotment or menu, or usually previous / next navigation recommendations.

Read Extra


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here