Colin Kaepernick, Phoenix Suns Co-Owner Launch $250 Million ESG SPAC

Originally published by Brendan Coffey, Sportico

Exiled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Phoenix Suns co-owner Jahm Najafi have filed to form a new special purpose acquisition company that seeks “to identify, acquire and advance a company with the aim of creating meaningful financial and societal value,” according to paperwork filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission Tuesday evening.

The SPAC, Mission Advancement Corp., wants to raise $250 million in an IPO and then acquire a company that is in the ESG—environmental, social and governance—space. “Consumers increasingly expect brands to have a social mission…. Companies are becoming more mission-driven and seeking to align with culturally relevant causes…. Brands are evolving into media platforms, enabling authentic cultural and celebrity influencers to help drive awareness, marketing exposure and value,” the blank check firm said in its prospectus.

Kaepernick played quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2016, splitting from the 49ers in 2017 after controversy from his taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Since then, he has been a spokesman and investor in companies with a socially driven bent and, since June, has been on the board of publishing platform Medium. Kaepernick is the co-chairman of Mission Advancement.

Najafi is co-chairman and CEO of the SPAC. He’s a private investor with a background in real estate and in other celebrity-driven efforts. He is a part-owner of the NBA Suns franchise and the Formula One McLaren Racing team, the latter through MSP Sports, a sports-focused private equity firm.

Seven other executives fill out the management team and board of the SPAC. Among them, Stacie Olivares, who is one of thirteen trustees of CalPERS, the California Public Employees Pension Plan and one of the largest investors in publicly traded securities in the U.S., and Attica Jaques, head of consumer marketing at Google. Both are among Mission Advancement’s directors. Another former NFL player, Ryan Nece, is among the advisors to the SPAC.

Kaepernick and Najafi joined some 50 sports-related SPACs seeking to bring companies public, including efforts from Alex RodriguezBilly Beane and Theo Epstein. Like all SPACs, Mission Advancement can’t identify a specific acquisition target ahead of its IPO. Once the company is public, Kaepernick and Najafi have 24 months to find a target, or they must return the IPO money to investors. The SPAC plans to offer a unit for $10, which consists of a share one one-third of a warrant, good for purchasing an additional share at $11.50. Cantor and Moelis are bookrunners—the banks marketing the IPO to investors. The Wall Street Journal first reported news of the SPAC.

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