Banker Ken Moelis has filed for three new SPACs today, seeking to raise $1.2 billion total to find targets in sectors including sports betting and online gaming, according to prospectuses filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission. It’s part of a fresh wave of sports-related deals starting the week.
The SPACs, Atlas Crest III, IV and V, list broad mandates in their paperwork. In addition to suggesting sports betting, the Atlas Crests list media, fintech/payments, healthcare and “disruptive consumer” among its target sectors. Moelis is the billionaire founder of Moelis and Co., an investment bank that has brokered deals in sports and related businesses, including with PointsBet, Flutter Entertainment, FanDuel and Sinclair Broadcasting. Moelis already has two SPACs, Atlas I and II. The first Atlas is bringing electric airplane venture Archer Aviation public, a business that coincidentally has Alex Rodriguez as a venture-round investor. The second Atlas Crest is seeking a media or sports betting target with $300 million, according to the Sportico Sports SPAC Tracker.
The three new Moelis SPACs seek to raise $600 million, $400 million and $200 million, respectively. The rationale behind raising three smaller SPACs rather than one large SPAC is likely due to it being easier to raise more money for a larger acquisition later on than finding a single larger deal using at least 80% of IPO capital, as SEC regulations require.
Moelis’ three new SPACs headline a wave of fresh special purpose acquisition companies coming to market. Overall, more SPACs have filed for or held an IPO in 2021 than in the past three years combined, according to data from SPACalpha, a researcher. As of March 1, 370 SPACs have raised or filed to raise more than $108 billion in capital to seek targets. Of those new SPACs year-to-date, 41 have a sports-business target or have a sports figure involved, according to Sportico data.
Among other transactions this week, tennis executive Mark Ein, who owns the Citi Open as well as World Tennis League squads, is back in the market in BrightSpark Capitol. The SPAC is aiming to raise $200 million to find a digitally focused business in health, wellness or beauty. Ein, who has led seven of his own Capitol Acquisition SPACs since 2013, is a director of the new blank check and part of the sponsor entity, the investor that fronts the capital to launch a SPAC. BrightSpark Capitol is led by co-CEOs Helena Foulkes, the former top executive at retailer Hudson Bay and CVS, and Marla Beck, who launched Bluemercury.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh reprises his role as an advisor for the second FAST Acquisition SPAC. The new SPAC filed yesterday for $200 million to locate a target in the hospitality sector. The first FAST Acquisition has a deal to take Tilman Fertitta’s restaurant arm, Fertitta Entertainment, public. Last week, Suh spoke with Sportico about his involvement in SPACs and his business aims. Atlanta Falcons player Todd Gurley isn’t listed as an advisor for the second FAST after being one in the original blank check.
Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky priced two of his five current SPACs last evening, Northern Star III and IV. The Northern Star SPACs are ventures with publishing executive Joanna Coles. They acquired a pets treat service with their first SPAC and a financial technology firm, Apex Clearing, with their second. The duo were able to upsize their new IPOs due to strong demand. Northern Star III and IV raised $350 million to find consumer businesses, up from an original aim of $300 million apiece.
All told, there have been well more than 100 sports-related SPACs, the vast majority having come to market since DraftKings’ successful stock market debut last April.