Theo Epstein, Arctos Partners File For $275 Million Sports-Related SPAC

Brendan Coffey and Scott Soshnick
·3 min read

Arctos Sports Partners, with newly appointed Executive-in-Residence Theo Epstein, have filed for a $275 million special purpose acquisition company. The blank-check business, Arctos NorthStar, includes Kroenke Sports & Entertainment executive Tomago Collins; Xavier Gutierrez, president and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes; Meredith McPherron of venture capital firm Drive by DraftKings, and Jared Smith, longtime chairman of Ticketmaster.

The SPAC is seeking to find a business including “sports teams, leagues, data & technology, digital infrastructure, health & wellness, e-sports, betting, ticketing, agencies, services and hospitality,” according to its prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday evening.

Arctos, a private equity fund with about $1 billion in assets under management, is the sponsor of the fund. Arctos focuses on investments in the big five North American sports leagues and European soccer, on behalf of its institutional clients. The formation of the SPAC indicates a likely expansion of corporate activities into sports-adjacent businesses, beyond sports teams. Generally, an IPO of $275 million could mean the Arctos SPAC could bring an enterprise valued at $1 billion to $3 billion to market. Arctos declined to comment.

Arctos is led by co-founder Ian Charles, who helped lead a similar, non-sports strategy at Landmark Partners, and David “Doc” O’Connor, former CEO of Madison Square Garden, owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers. He also is a director and investor in the Professional Lacrosse League. O’Connor is chairman of the Arctos NorthStar SPAC. Epstein, who joined Arctos Sports Partners this past week, is CEO, while Charles is a director.

Joining the SPAC as a director is Collins, who is executive vice president of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Collins has worked for the Kroenke organization since 2003, including roles with the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets and English Premier League stalwart Arsenal. Also on the board is Gutierrez, who has led the NHL Coyotes since June. Previously, he was at Clearlake Capital Group, a private investment firm. McPherron is an experienced venture capitalist who has also played roles in the MIT Design Accelerator and Harvard Innovation Lab. She also is a director of the new SPAC. Smith rounds out the board, and has extensive experience in ticketing and live entertainment, including leading Ticketmaster for seven years.

Rounding out the executive and management team of Arctos NorthStar is John Vedro, who is chief financial officer of the SPAC. Vedro performs a similar function at the Arctos private equity business.

Arctos NorthStar joins more than four-dozen other sports-related blank check businesses on the market. SPACs go public to raise money with the intent to find another business to bring public. While SPACs like Arctos’ typically name sectors they are seeking to buy into, they aren’t limited in where they may look for an acquisition. Arctos NorthStar has 24 months from its IPO to find a target or it will have to return the IPO capital to shareholders. The SPAC will sell units at $10 each, consisting of one share and one-third of a warrant, the right to buy an additional share at $11.50. Citigroup is the bookrunner, the bank that markets the SPAC to investors at the IPO.

(This story has been updated with details of Arctos NorthStar and its executives throughout.)

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