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Colin Kaepernick forms SPAC, with eye on social justice

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the latest to create a special purpose-acquisition company, seeking to raise up to $287.5 million in an initial public offering.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Kaepernick — the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who took a knee during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016 — is the co-sponsor and co-chairman of Mission Advancement Corp., working in partnership with The Najafi Cos., a private equity firm.

Mission Advancement will focus on racial justice and diversity issues, and aims to acquire a consumer business with an enterprise value around $1 billion.

“The mission of the Najafi/Kaepernick partnership is to identify, acquire and advance a company with the aim of creating meaningful financial and societal value,” the filing said. “We believe Mr. Kaepernick’s substantial business experience combined with his long-term leadership on racial equity and justice issues will support our success in identifying a prospective target company and adding transformational value to the combined entity.”

The filing noted Kaepernick has worked with global brands such as Nike

Beats by Dre, Medium, Electronic Arts

Audible, and Ben & Jerry’s in recent years.

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As an indication of its mission, the company’s board of directors is 100% Black, Indigenous and people of color, and is majority female. Directors include Google marketing executive Attica Jaques, former Apple executive Omar Johnson and Birchbox co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp.

SPACs are blank-check companies that have exploded in popularity in recent years. They are essentially empty-shell companies that look for a company to acquire and take public, in a process quicker than a traditional IPO. So far this year, there have been 131 SPACs that have raised a collective $39.9 billion, according to SPAC Research. That’s already about half as many SPACs as in all of 2020.

23andMe Inc. said last week it will go public via a merger with a SPAC owned by Richard Branson, and hedge fund Elliott Management is reportedly considering creating a SPAC.

Billionaire investor Sam Zell on Tuesday said the SPAC craze reminds him of the late 1990s. “This is rampant speculation again, very much like the dot-com boom,” he told CNBC in an interview.

While he said SPACs can be very effective, Zell said he worries many are built on shaky financial fundamentals.

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