CuriosityStream To Trade Publicly Via Reverse Merger With Software Acquisition Group

CuriosityStream chairman John Hendricks, left, and CEO Clint Stinchcomb at Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in 2019. Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Rising unscripted streaming service CuriosityStream plans to go public as a result of a reverse merger with Software Acquisition Group.

The deal has an enterprise value of about $331 million and an equity value of $512 million.

CuriosityStream chairman John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel, and Software Acquisition Group chairman Jonathan Huberman made the announcement Tuesday. Hendricks will remain chairman of the new entity, whose management team is expected to remain intact, with Clint Stinchcomb continuing to serve as president and CEO.

Software Acquisition Group is a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. It raised about $150 million via an initial public offering in November 2019.

SPACs, known in financial circles as “blank check” companies, are not a new phenomenon and have ebbed and flowed in the market over two-plus decades based on larger economic trends. They use proceeds from their own IPO to acquire other targets, in theory creating instant value. Hollywood veterans Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky embarked on a SPAC strategy recently, which this year coalesced around the IPO of sports betting firm DraftKings.

CuriosityStream, which now has 13 million subscribers in 175 countries, focuses on what it calls “factual” programming primarily rooted in nature, history and technology. In an interview with Deadline, Stinchcomb said the company had been approached by numerous SPACs about a potential combination. Huberman was a familiar figure to CuriosityStream from his time running Ooyala, a video workflow systems firm used by a range of streaming companies.

Upon the deal’s close in the next few months, the new entity will have no debt and $180 million in cash on its balance sheet. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “CURI.”

“CuriosityStream has the unique advantage of being a ‘pure-play’ streaming media service that is not burdened with legacy linear TV assets in cable and broadcasting. Our consumer promise of offering premium factual content on demand in the new era of streaming has been enthusiastically embraced by curious viewers worldwide,” Hendricks said in a press release. “We are excited to now have access to the public capital markets to support our growth plans and to over-deliver on our mission to provide content that informs, enchants and inspires.”

Huberman called CuriosityStream “the clear leader in the high-growth, factual media streaming market. We look forward to working with such a strong management team led by industry legend John Hendricks and his business partner of many years, Clint Stinchcomb, as they continue to drive CuriosityStream adoption across global markets. I am confident our investors will share my total respect for their vision and leadership.”

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