The special purpose acquisition company formed by long-time sports business executive Harvey Schiller and superagent David Falk has signed a deal to bring a French mobile payments firm public, according to a filing with regulators Thursday morning.
The SPAC, Goal Acquisitions, intends to merge with and bring public Digital Virgo, a Lyon, France-based firm that implements monetization systems for telecom operators and merchants. In practice that means Digital Virgo handles payments for customers who prefer to pay for goods and services through their mobile phone provider account or, as is common in the developing world, are unbanked and therefore use cell phones as their primary financial vehicle.
The proposed transaction will value Digital Virgo at $513 million and provide $100 million of operating cash to the company as well. The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023. Indeed, the SPAC faces a deadline of around Feb. 10 to complete the transaction under the terms of its 2021 IPO. Goal came public with a 24-month window to complete a merger, or it will need to return its IPO capital back to shareholders, a sum that currently stands at $260 million. It’s possible for Goal to request shareholder approval for an extension of the expiration date.
Schiller—who has served in leadership roles with the YES Network, SEC and Turner Sports, among many other responsibilities—and Falk, considered one of basketball’s most powerful people stemming in part from his representation of Michael Jordan, formed Goal during the 2020-2021 SPAC frenzy, when a record number of “blank check” businesses came to market. SPACs raise money at an IPO with a promise to find another company to take public. In Goal’s case, the duo aimed to find pandemic-driven opportunities in the sports industry.
In a press release announcing the deal, the companies said the transaction will allow Digital Virgo to pursue opportunities in the North American market, including “building a one-destination platform that meets their needs for media, sports, entertainment, gaming, commerce, finance, and much more, payable on their phone bill (using carrier billing solutions).”