Group Nine Acquisition Corp. said Tuesday it has named CNN chief Jeff Zucker and Technicolor vice chair Melinda Mount to its board of directors, adding firepower as it searches for digital media properties.
Units of the SPAC (special purpose acquisition company), created late last year by top executives of Group Nine Media, began trading in January. The new vehicle is looking for a digital businesses to buy and merge with.
Group Nine Media owns TheDodo, NowThis, Thrilllist, Seeker and PopSugar. Its chairman-CEO Ben Lerer and president Brian Sugar hold the same titles at GNAC.
Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports and president of CNN Worldwide, said last month he plans to exit at the endo of next year. The duo join board members including former Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons and Reddit COO Jen Wong.
“I have been a big fan of Group Nine Media’s work for years and recognize the unique opportunity that exists in consolidating the digital sector,” Zucker said in a statement. “I know that Ben and his team understand implicitly both where the digital industry is headed and what it takes to build a category-defining company.”
SPACs, called ‘blank check’ entities, assemble managers, raise money in a public offering and use the cash to buy actual companies, which then inherit the SPAC’s stock exchange listing without the stress of a formal IPO. The Group Nine move is testament to the growing allure of SPACs that now number in the hundreds and continued consolidation in digital media.
“We could not be more excited that Jeff and Mindy are joining the GNAC board. Jeff’s career in media and ability to see around corners are legendary, and Mindy’s financial and operational acumen are world-class. We’re thrilled to add their unique perspective to our team,” said Lerer. “Along with Dick and Jen, we believe we have assembled an unrivaled board of media, tech and finance talent and I am incredibly grateful to be able to tap their leadership and counsel.”
“I have been a big fan of Group Nine Media’s work for years and recognize the unique opportunity that exists in consolidating the digital sector. I know that Ben and his team understand implicitly both where the digital industry is headed and what it takes to build a category defining company,” said Zucker.
“I couldn’t agree more with Group Nine’s thesis around the importance of consolidating the fragmented digital industry,” said Mount. “I believe this is the right vehicle to make that vision a reality and I am delighted to join the GNAC board.”