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Much has been made of the horde of celebrities swarming the special purpose acquisition company space, especially those of the athletic variety. As anecdotal evidence tells us that such men and women are not always as gifted intellectually as physically, nor as good with their money as they are with balls and sticks, this has aroused a good deal of bemusement and skepticism, not least of all from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Well, let one of their number—and man who has supped and sipped with Steve Cohen before their falling out, and even met with Tom Montagcome to this beleaguered class’ defense.

When it comes to understanding the fiduciary duties involved, [Alex Rodriguez] said that his long career at the Yankees brought him experience at “the ultimate public company,” where the shareholders, so to speak, were the outspoken fans of the storied franchise…. “I just want to stand up for the athlete community, because there’s so many smart young men and women. I would be lucky to have them as partners,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “We have a reach, and it’s not just domestic, it’s global,” he said, in reference to himself and Ms. Lopez.

And do you know what? He’s right: A sporting SPAC can throw 10 (or 11) figures at spectacularly money-losing former cults unable to go public the honest way just as effectively as the most famous professional investors in the biz.

WeWork is merging with BowX Acquisition…. WeWork said the deal with BowX gave it an equity value of $7.9 billion, far less than the nearly $50 billion value that its investors placed on the company in 2019. WeWork will receive $1.3 billion in cash from the deal, including $800 million from Insight Partners, Starwood Capital Group, BlackRock and other investors….

[BowX] is backed by Bow Capital, an investment firm that counts Shaquille O’Neal, the former basketball player, as an adviser.

And since incestuousness is no barrier to a blank-check deal, perhaps Odell Beckham Jr. and his partners at Tribe Capital might have a run at those who cover the Cleveland Browns receiver.

Alex Mather, chief executive of the Athletic, approached Axios CEO Jim VandeHei about a week ago with a merger proposal, the people said. The two CEOs have held general conversations about business opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the talks escalated significantly in recent days, the people said…. One logical step to raise capital could be going public by merging with a blank-check company, also known as a special-purpose acquisition company, the people said.

Of course it is! Just look how much fun a SPAC deal can buy. It’s no wonder this latest and other American flights of financial fancy are ready to go global.

“There’s a lot of different areas that we could play in with our brand,” [Playboy CFO Lance] Barton said.

Los Angeles-based PLBY Group Inc. in February listed on the Nasdaq after combining with blank-check company Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp. The deal armed PLBY with about $100 million to grow its business. Earlier this month, PLBY spent $25 million to buy TLA Acquisition Corp., a firm that sells sex toys, vibrators and lingerie through a subsidiary…. PLBY sees its future growth largely coming from sexual-wellness products, such as condoms and CBD-based items, as well as lingerie. In January, the company expanded its licensing business into India for apparel and fashion items.

A growing number of Asia-based sponsors are backing SPACs…. Asia is also a target region for acquisition for many of the SPACs — particularly highly valued companies in Southeast Asia that are primed to go public. Ride-hailing giant Grab is reportedly in talks to go public by merging with a SPAC….

Data shared by analytics provider Dealogic showed the number of Asia-focused SPAC companies grew from 0 in 2016 to 8 last year, raising about $1.44 billion…. In the first three months of 2021, there have already been six such companies that have collectively raised $2.7 billion.

Which is great for driving up the price of start-ups for everyone, but it’s not the only way.

SoFi clients who have at least $3,000 in account value will be able enter the amount of shares they want as a “reservation.” The app will alert them when it’s time to confirm an order…. Trading app Robinhood is working on a similar platform to offer access to initial public offerings, including its own upcoming debut….

“Main Street will have access to investing in a way they wouldn’t have before,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. Just not to SoFi’s shares: It’s going public via SPAC.

After Failed I.P.O., WeWork Will Go Public Through a Merger [NYT]
Startups Axious and the Athletic Discuss Merger, Consider SPAC Deal [WSJ]
Athletes Pitch Wall Street’s Hot New Toy, but Not Just to Their Fans [NYT]
Odell Beckham Jr. Jumps Into SPAC Surge [WSJ]
On Sports and SPACs [DealBook]
The SPAC frenzy may be heading to Asia – experts say clearer rules are needed [CNBC]
Owner of Playboy Brand Looks to Invest SPAC Money in ‘Sexual Wellness’ Sector [WSJ]
Microsoft Is in Exclusive Talks to Acquire Discord [WSJ]
SoFi to give amateur investors early access to IPOs in break from Wall Street tradition [CNBC]
Jeff Bezos-backed accounting start-up hits $1.2 billion valuation after new funding round [CNBC]
Why the GameStop frenzy is possible in Europe as FCA warns young ‘gamblers’ piling into stocks [FN]


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