Group nine media – owned by Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker and PopSugar – is the youngest company to set up a SPAC, according to a filing with the SEC.
These blank check companies, as they are also known, have become a popular way of raising money from the public markets. The filing states that Group Nine is creating a SPAC "to conduct a merger, stock exchange, asset purchase, share purchase, reorganization, or similar business combination."
The company further claims that it has no specific acquisition targets in mind and that there have been no "substantive discussions". However, the company is interested in digital media companies as well as companies in “related industries” such as social media, e-commerce, events, digital publishing and marketing.
The idea of consolidating digital media properties has been a recurring theme among executives in recent years. For example, Jonah Peretti, CEO of BuzzFeed, said that a consolidated digital media company could have more leverage in negotiations with Facebook and Google, and recently signed a deal to acquire HuffPost from Verizon Media (which also owns TechCrunch).
Group Nine is itself an amalgamation of previously independent digital media companies led by CEO Ben Lerer (pictured above) and which grew last year with the acquisition of PopSugar. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the company is investigating a SPAC.
"We believe the digital media sector is poised for consolidation as digital media companies need a scaled platform with efficient portfolio infrastructure to compete in the ecosystem and deliver long-term value for shareholders," said in the filing of Group Nine.