Private investment firm RedBird Capital announces plans to take a new sports company public

Key Points
  • Private investment firm RedBird Capital announced Tuesday it will take a new SPAC focused on sports public on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • The company, RedBall Acquisition, said it will focus on acquiring sports, media and data analytics companies.
Gerry Cardinale, chief executive officer of Redbird Capital Partners LLC, sits for a photograph in New York.
Griselda San Martin | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners has announced it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as it looks to take a new blank check company public.

The company, RedBall Acquisition, has applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "RBAC.U," according to a statement announcing the filing. RedBall wants to raise $500 million which will be used to fund the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

SPAC companies are generally used to raise money, which is stored in escrow for two years, while officials seek to acquire distressed or companies for sale.

Though RedBall is free to acquire a company in any sector, "it intends to focus on businesses in the sports, media and data analytics sectors, with a focus on professional sports franchises," the statement said.

This isn't the first time a firm attempted to use a SPAC to acquire sports-related properties. Andrew Murstein, president and COO of Medallion Financial Corp., launched Sports Properties Acquisition Corp. in 2008, joining forces with Major League Baseball League Baseball legend Hank Aaron and former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. The company folded in 2010.

RedBird is a big player in the private equity sector, with companies like the New York Yankees' YES Network in its portfolio. The firm is run by former Goldman Sachs executive Gerry Cardinale, who also had a hand in forming Legends Hospitality with the Yankees and Dallas Cowboys.

On July 20, RedBird also announced it purchased 85% of the French soccer team, Toulouse Football Club from owner Olivier Sadran who will retain a 15% stake in the club and remain on the member board of directors.

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