Less than a year after taking streaming TV network Fubo public, executives leading the business have formed a separate SPAC that echoes the business strategy of Fubo—a new media company that emphasizes sports as the basis of disruption in the industry.
Former Warner Music CEO and current Fubo executive chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr., and Fubo director Daniel Leff have formed Waverley Capital Acquisition Corp. 1, a special purpose acquisition company seeking $300 million in an initial public offering. Joining them are Fubo’s CEO David Gandler and former Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.
Waverley details its business model as focused on the changing ways consumers digest media. The business plan specifies two areas of potential focus, mentioning music and podcasts while giving most specificity to sports-related content. “The gamification of sports through eSports, online sports betting and fantasy sports has created a new value chain, attracting previously underserved portions of the population,” according to the prospectus, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday morning.
Bronfman headed Warner Music Group in the 2000s as the industry shifted from physical products to digital, and he has also written songs for Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer. He is also an investor and executive at Fubo, which went public by a traditional reverse merger last year when it bought a public company and assumed its stock market listing. Leff is a longtime media executive, having been a director at Roku and an investor in The Athletic as well as Fubo. The two executives are co-founders and sponsors of the SPAC, the entity which funds its formation in return for low-priced shares in the resulting business if an acquisition can be made.
Joining the executives as director of the SPAC are Gandler, the CEO and co-founder of Fubo, and Bewkes, who was chairman and CEO of Time Warner from 2008 to 2018. Chris Silberman, the CEO of ICM Partners, a large talent agency for artists and content creators, rounds out the board of directors. The chief financial officer of the Waverley SPAC is Alan Henricks, who is chair of the audit committee for publicly-traded Roku.
The blank check firm aims to “capitalize on our team’s ability to source and acquire a business focused on media, technology or entertainment that will benefit from our expertise in developing and executing value creation plans in those areas,” according to the filing. The document goes on to state the executives have “proprietary access to deal flow, people, resources and unique insights within the media industry to make superior investments/acquisitions of category-defining companies.”
The Waverley SPAC aims to sell 30 million units, consisting of one share and one quarter of a warrant, the option to buy a future share at $11.50. Like most SPACs, the Bronfman team is giving itself 24 months to make an acquisition or it will need to return the IPO capital to shareholders.
The Waverley SPAC enters what may be a crowded market. There are 61 other SPACs that have or are seeking $19.9 billion in capital to find a business with a similar focus, according to the Sportico Sports SPAC tracker. That number excludes some of the other 300-plus SPACs seeking targets that may have a media and technology focus that don’t suggest sports as a specific target or have a sports executive involved.
The blank check business is using Evercore ISI and Morgan Stanley as join bookrunners to bring the SPAC public.