Shaq is in a SPAC. Larger-than-life culture icon Shaquille O’Neal is getting in on the hottest transaction in the stock market, as special advisor to a new special purpose acquisition company focused on finding a business in the technology, media and telecommunications field.
The new SPAC, called Forest Road Acquisition Corp., filed Thursday evening to raise $250 million in an initial public offering. The company is led by a mix of Wall Street veterans and movie and entertainment titans: Its CEO is hedge fund veteran Keith Horn, who currently runs his own shop, Loring Capital Advisors, after previously working for billionaire Paul Singer at Elliott Management. Zachary Tarica, who is experienced in the complex world of tax credits and entertainment and renewable energy, is chairperson of the board. Among other executives associated with the SPAC are Salil Mehta, who has been a top-level exec at Disney, 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal, and Martin Luther King III. MLK III is the eldest son of the civil rights leader. He leads Realizing the Dream, a non-profit that focuses on humanitarian efforts in the U.S., Africa and Middle East.
NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille 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. Also joining as an advisor is Mark Burg, a Hollywood producer best known for his work on the graphic Saw series of horror films. Peter Schlessel, a well-known name in Hollywood production as an executive at Village Roadshow, Sony and elsewhere, is also a director of the SPAC, according to the prospectus.
SPACs go public with an intention to acquire a company in a stated field, but are required not to have a specific company in mind. Forest Road will have two years from when it prices its IPO to find an acquisition in any sector, or else return the capital it raises back to investors. Shaq is one of many sports figures involved in SPACs.