Entertainment finance firm Forest Road has launched its second SPAC with Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs as co-CEOs and co-chairs. Units of Forest Road Acquisition Corp. II started trading today on the New York Stock Exchange as the execs begin the search for a target company in the tech, media, telecommunications or consumer space.
Mayer, previously of Walt Disney and TikTok, was recently named chairman of sports streaming service DAZN. He and Staggs, a former COO and CFO of Disney, are directors and investors of Forest Road. They were advisors for the firm’s first SPAC, which recently acquired digital fitness specialist Beachbody. The pair will be taking a more active role in this second SPAC.
SPACs, special purpose acquisition companies also called “blank-check” vehicles, are basically shells that go public to look for private companies to buy. There are hundreds of SPACs announced or already trading amid market concerns that there are way more of them than there are quality targets for sale. High profile executives with proven track records can attract investors to a SPAC. They don’t necessarily take active roles managing the company a SPAC acquires but can stay involved. Mayer joined Beachbody’s board. SPACs have up to two years to complete a deal although Beachbody’s was wrapped up in months.
Digital publisher Group Nine Acquisition Corp. yesterday 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 to add to a portfolio that includes TheDodo, NowThis, Thrilllist, Seeker and PopSugar.
Forest Road CEO Zachary Tarica is COO of the new SPAC. Shaquille O’Neal, Sheila Stamps, Rick Hess and Harlan Cherniak are strategic advisors. Martin Luther King III, Salil Mehta and Keith Horn are independent directors.
Forest Road is a specialty finance platform across media, real estate, and renewable energy tax credit lending as well as film tax credit administration.