Shaq SPAC II: O’Neal, Disney Vets Mayer and Staggs Seek $300 Million for Media Business

Brendan Coffey
·3 min read

Fresh off of inking a deal to merge and bring fitness companies Beachbody and Myx Fitness public, the team from Forest Road Acquisition, including Shaquille O’Neal, has filed for a new special purpose acquisition company to seek a media and technology business to bring public.

The SPAC, Forest Road Acquisition II, seeks businesses that can capitalize on “consumer behavior fundamentally changing” and “new audience aggregation platforms transforming the TMTC [technology, media, telecommunications and consumer] landscape,” the business said in its IPO filing, with the Securities & Exchange Commission last evening.

Forest Road II is led by Thomas Staggs and Kevin Mayer, who share the roles of CEO and chairperson of the proposed business. Staggs is a veteran of Walt Disney Co., including as its chief financial officer and as lead of its valuable theme parks business. He also is credited with a leading role in the acquisition of ESPN. Mayer is also a Disney alum, having led the internet businesses, including ESPN.com. He is also said to be the architect of Disney’s direct-to-consumer strategy that started with the acquisition of BAMTech—the business behind MLB’s wildly successful app—which led to the launch of Disney+ last year.

NBA Hall of Famer O’Neal is a special advisor to the new SPAC, the same role he held in the first Forest Road blank check. As an investor, O’Neal took equity in Google ahead of its IPO and also invested in Ring, the video doorbell business later acquired by Amazon. O’Neal is one of four strategic advisors in the new SPAC, which also features an eight-person slate of managers and directors, including Martin Luther King III, a director; and Keith Horn, also a director. Horn was chief operating officer of hedge fund Elliott Management for more than a decade.

The first Forest Road SPAC raised $300 million in a November IPO and nine days ago announced a deal to combine at-home fitness businesses Beachbody and Myx in a transaction valuing the new company at $2.9 billion. Casino and Ultimate Fighting Championship entrepreneur Lorenzo Fertitta is among the additional investors contributing financing for that going-public transaction. Forest Road’s shares are up about 48% from its IPO price.

The second Forest Road seeks to sell 30 million units at $10 a piece, consisting of one share and one-fifth of a warrant, the right to buy an additional share at $11.50. The SPAC will have 24 months from its IPO to make an acquisition or it will need to return its IPO money to shareholders. There are more than 75 SPACs from sports executives on the market right now, seeking or possessing more than $27 billion in capital. Overall more than 275 SPACs have had their IPO or filed to go public in 2021, already up from 2020’s total of 248 SPACs, according to data from SPAC Alpha, a research firm.

An email to Forest Road seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

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