Colin Kaepernick has become the latest big name to jump into the world of SPACs, launching a blank-check company that intends to buy a consumer business with a social purpose.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick has joined forces with private-equity investor Jahm Najafi and will seek to raise around $250 million by taking the SPAC public. Najafi runs private-equity group Najafi Companies.
Special-purpose acquisition companies – or SPACs – took off in earnest last year and continue to boom in 2021. Basketball player Shaquille O’Neal, former House speaker Paul Ryan, and baseball executive Billy Beane are just some of the well-known names to have backed a blank-check company.
A SPAC has no commercial operations, but exists solely to raise money by listing on the stock exchange, with the hope of finding and buying a profitable and fast-growing company to acquire. After it lists, it has a set time period in which to buy a target.
Kaepernick’s SPAC, named Mission Advancement, will try to find consumer businesses with an enterprise value “north of approximately $1 billion” that have a focus on “high-quality brands” and have an established US customer base.
Mission Advancement’s regulatory filing also said it would have a “social mission”. The SPAC’s independent board is made up entirely of Black, Indigenous and people of colour, the majority of whom are women, the filing said. Former Apple executive Omar Johnson will serve as one of the directors, while award-winning director Ava DuVernay will be an advisor.
Kaepernick has turned his focus to social activism campaigns in recent years, having not played in the NFL since 2016. He became world famous – and infamous among some NFL fans and team-owners – for “taking the knee” during the national anthem to protest racism in the United States.
The filing said: “We believe Mr Kaepernick’s substantial business experience, combined with his long-term leadership on racial equity and justice issues will support our success in identifying a prospective target company and adding transformational value to the combined entity.”
It stressed Kaepernick’s “global marketability, massive audience and ability to positively impact culture.” The quarterback and campaigner has partnered with Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, and Netflix to raise awareness of racism and other injustices in recent years.