Glazer Capital, a hedge fund managing more than $2 billion in assets, disclosed this week it has 14% ownership in Bull Horn Holdings, a sports-focused special purpose acquisition company. The equity stake of more than 1.06 million units makes Glazer the largest institutional shareholder in the company, led by sports marketer Rob Striar.
“Thematically, sports are an area of great interest in the public markets given the way the U.S. is opening up online gambling and everything around betting,” Vik Mittal, a portfolio manager at Glazer Capital, said in a phone call. “There’s a lot of interest in the sports vertical since the DraftKings deal was done, and then Rush Street, Golden Nugget and now Genius Sports two weeks ago.
“I view the opportunities in sports as in the early innings of the adoption phase and the growth of these types of assets that are on either the gambling and sports data analytics side or on the content side, digital distribution, media. It’s an intercept where you’re going to see significant growth and reshape how people view and interact with sports,” Mittal explained.
Bull Horn is one of a series of sports-focused blank check companies that have come to market this year. The company raised $75 million in an IPO on Nov. 2, intending to find a company with at least $100 million in revenue “in the sports and entertainment industries that complements the experience and operational expertise of our management team,” according to Bull Horn’s prospectus. While the Glazer hedge fund has smaller positions in some of the other nearly three dozen sports SPACs, its large ownership in Bull Horn includes a stake of the sponsor entity that formed the SPAC, which makes Glazer Capital part owner of the business along with Bull Horn’s executive team.
Glazer Capital was founded in 1999 by Paul Glazer, who isn’t related to sports-team owner Malcolm Glazer. Based on a reading of its latest quarterly U.S. equities disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission, as of June 30, Glazer Capital held positions in 87 SPACs worth more than $1.2 billion. The firm had almost $2.2 billion in assets under management as of the end of April, according to a separate disclosure to regulators.
The commitment to Bull Horn stems from Glazer Capital’s confidence in the SPAC’s management team, Mittal said. Specifically, he cited Bull Horn CEO Striar’s insight into sports marketing through his firm M Style and his experience monetizing ad streams and boosting fan engagement on behalf of NHL squads. He also cited company directors Doug Schaer, who has experience as COO of publicly traded media company LiveXMedia, and Stephen Master, who was global head of the Nielsen sports practice. Mittal also pointed to the inclusion of former NBA player Baron Davis as a benefit to Bull Horn in its search for an acquisition. “Baron’s kind of a quasi-VC now, a little bit like Kevin Durant. He’s a very thoughtful investor. I’ve had the chance to speak with him a few times and I’m just impressed with what he brings to the table,” Mittal said.
While SPACs have wide leeway to make an acquisition in any business sector, Bull Horn is looking at its business opportunity through the lens of professional sports. “[The] ability to manage a professional sports team as a business has taken sports teams and brands from localized support to global fandoms with worldwide revenue bases, and has in turn made sports properties very low-risk, secure asset classes that should accrete in value, regardless of the on-field success of the sports franchise,” the company detailed in the proposed business statement of its prospectus. Like other SPACs, Bull Horn has a limited time frame to work within. If it can’t make a deal in 18 months, it needs to return its IPO capital to shareholders.
“Just being a part of the massive consumption of entertainment content—which all sports ultimately are—I think is exceptionally valuable,” added Mittal. “I think the market’s going to be very receptive to the opportunities they bring forth.”