It seems everyone is rushing to create special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Now basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and one of Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s sons along with three former high-ranking Walt Disney Co. executives are teaming up to make acquisitions in the media and technology industries.
Their SPAC is called the Forest Road Acquisition Corp. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the company would raise $250 million and acquisitions could include intellectual property and “audience aggregation platforms” such as streaming platforms, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Forest Road Acquisition is a shell company formed by the film-financing firm Forest Road Co. It is led by a mix of Wall Street veterans and movie and entertainment titans: Hedge fund veteran Keith Horn is CEO. Other executives associated with the SPAC are Salil Mehta, a top-level exec at Disney, and Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of the civil rights leader. King heads Realizing the Dream, a non-profit that focuses on humanitarian efforts in the U.S., Africa and the Middle East.
O’Neal will be special advisor to Forest Road. “In addition to his playing career, Shaq has been a shrewd investor, having backed Google prior to its IPO and investing in Ring during its venture capital rounds, Sportico reported.
Shaq is one of many sports figures involved in SPACs.
The attraction to SPACs is because founders can bypass the traditional IPO process and go straight to a public listing. With a SPAC a business can raise money and list a company publicly without having to file for an initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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SPACs are also called blank-check companies because they are essentially pools of cash the sole purpose of which is to do deals.
While SPACs go public with an intention to acquire a company in a stated field, they are not required to have a specific company in mind. Forest Road will have two years to find an acquisition in any sector, or else return the capital it raises back to investors.