Islanders owner Jon Ledecky and former Cosmopolitan Editor Joanna Coles have formed a new blank-check company, Northern Star Acquisition Corp. The company, which is seeking to raise $300 million in an IPO, will focus its search to buy a company in “the beauty, wellness, self-care, fashion, e-commerce, subscription and digital-media space.”
Blank-check companies, also known as special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), are entities that go public and use the capital raised to purchase another company that is looking to go public without the time, expense and disclosure required by a traditional IPO.
Ledecky has been the majority owner of the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2014 and has led a number of SPACs to market. His most recent one, Pivotal II, entered an agreement this month with XL Hybrids, a company that electrifies commercial vehicles ranging in size from minivans to school buses. Previous Ledecky SPACs brought software company KLDiscovery and American Apparel public. He is president and chief operating office of Northern Star.
Coles is chairperson and CEO of the SPAC. She is best known for leading content efforts at magazine publisher Hearst, leaving when she was passed over for the position as president of the company. Earlier, as editor of Cosmopolitan, she became known for moving the lifestyle magazine into more substantive coverage of women’s issues, including abortion and politics.
Valerie Jarrett, a former advisor to President Obama, Debora Spar, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Jonathan Mildenhall, a marketing executive and former executive at AirBNB, are among those on the board.
Ledecky is one of at least 10 sports team owners who have SPACs coming to market. SPACs have become a popular vehicle for taking companies public this year, having been the way DraftKings, Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment, and Tilman Fertitta’s Golden Nugget Online Gaming have recently gone public.