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William Morris Involved in $500M SPAC For M&A In Entertainment Sector; Ashton Kutcher On Board

In the weirdly complex world of blank-check IPOs and SPACs, this one is a bit of a puzzler: the talent agency William Morris (WMA), along with John Mass, EVP and head of corp dev and new ventures at the agency, and two other SPAC vets, have recently filed to raise about $500 million in financing on the American Stock Exchange, for acquisition in the entertainment, media and publishing space. The company hasn’t yet identified any target.

Eric Watson, the SPAC’s chairman of the board and treasurer, and Jonathan Ledecky, its president and secretary, have been involved with various other blank-check companies in the past. Other directors of the company included actor Ashton Kutcher, Jim Gray, the ESPN (NYSE: DIS) sportscaster and Ed Mathias, media and entertainment lead at Carlyle Group. Some of the directors of the company were recently part of another blank check company Endeavor Acquisition, which last year bought American Apparel.

As for how WMA will be involved with the company, this explains it well: “William Morris and Mr. Mass have entered into right of first review agreements with us, in which they have agreed to present to us for our consideration any suitable business opportunity to acquire a target business with a fair market value in excess of $375 million, prior to presentation to any other entity, provided such target business allows them to present their company to us. In any event, neither William Morris nor Mr. Mass will seek to acquire such target business or be a principal in such opportunity. In addition, if a client of William Morris has already identified a specific acquisition in which it seeks the assistance of William Morris, William Morris will not be obligated to present such opportunity to us.”

Would be interesting to see what, if any, targets come up for the company within its 24 month deadline. WMA recently launched The Mailroom Fund, which is focused on venture capital investments in the digital media sector.