Sports team owners are piling into the blank check rage.
Vegas Golden Knights owner William Foley filed for a $1.2 billion special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with the SEC last night, while Dodgers and L.A. Sparks minority owner Todd Boehly filed for a $500 million SPAC after the close of business yesterday, according to the SEC website. While neither SPAC specifies sports as a specific target industry, the filings show how investor appetite for the novel form of taking companies public is meeting with team owners’ desire to expand their business empires.
Foley’s will be one of the largest SPACs brought to market and is his fourth to date. The SEC filing for Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II states the blank check company will look to find acquisitions in the billionaire’s area of expertise, including insurance, data and sports. The SPAC will probably look to acquire a company in the financial services, information or business services sectors, according to the filing. Part of Foley’s management team includes the chief financial officer of the Golden Knights holding company, Bryan D. McCoy, as well as other executives of Foley’s insurance and data companies. Foley, 73, already has a $1.03 billion SPAC still looking for a target, Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp.
Investor Todd Boehly, a minority owner of the Dodgers and WNBA’s Sparks as well as an early backer of DraftKings, is looking to raise $500 million through Horizon Acquisition Corp. Boehly, 46, seeks to acquire a company in financial services or “financial services adjacent” industries like “innovative platforms that support consumer access to financial wellness solutions,” according to the filing.
Boehly owns Eldridge Industries, a Connecticut conglomerate that houses investments in dozens of companies, including 17 other sports and media ventures. Among the company’s investments are eight esports ventures, Dick Clark Productions and The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard magazines, two publications that compete with publications of Penske Media Corp., which publishes Sportico.
Horizon’s filing emphasizes Boehly’s success of DraftKings, noting the SPAC that brought DraftKings public has returned 3.2 times the investment for those who bought at its IPO. Boehly wasn’t involved in that SPAC, but he did lead a $100 million venture capital round into the fantasy league and betting site in 2017. Boehly owns about 9.55 million shares, or 2.7%, of DraftKings, according to a filing from June. Among executives in Boehly’s SPAC are David Minella, a long-time asset manager and value investor. He previously formed a SPAC that brought real estate investment trust Kennedy Wilson public.
Blank check companies have become an increasingly popular alternative to IPOs. DraftKings went public by SPAC in April and Sportradar is believed to be exploring going public by the same route. Speculators can likely add these two new funds to the pile of possible acquirers of the sporting event data provider. RedBall, a sports-specific SPAC from Gerry Cardinale and Billy Beane, filed for an IPO last week.
Neither representatives for Foley or Boehly immediately replied to requests for comment.