Saturday December 9, 2023

OBJ Jumps Into Snowballing SPAC Space

  • Odell Beckham Jr. is the latest athlete investor to align with a SPAC.
  • The wide receiver sees himself as a serious investor, not just an attention-grabbing name.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. became a strategic advisor to a SPAC launched by investment firm Tribe Capital. A filing earlier this month said that Tribe was seeking “top-decile private technology companies that are exhibiting inflection points in their growth.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission is getting increasingly antsy about athlete and celebrity-backed SPACs, going as far as to release a warning letter to investors, and many expect a formal investigation into the investment vehicle. Athletes are often brought in to bring attention to a SPAC but then step away once it acquires a company to take public, according to the New York Times. SPACs have raised over $90 billion this year, already breaking the record set in 2020.

The SEC alluded to the mixed incentives celebrities may have in its warning letter, noting that “sponsors may have conflicts of interest so their economic interests in the SPAC may differ from shareholders.”

Alex Rodriguez, Serena Williams, Shaquille O’Neal, Steph Curry, Naomi Osaka, Patrick Mahomes, and Justin Verlander are among the numerous athletes who have joined SPACs as board members or advisers. 

As for Beckham Jr., who has invested in technology and cryptocurrency companies through Tribe, as well as wellness, nutrition, and esports companies, he sees himself as more of a strategist than an attention-grabbing name.

“As I look to the future, I know that NFL careers don’t last forever and I’ll need new areas to compete in,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “I feel like I’ve been in training camp for venture capital these last few years, and I’m ready to get out on the field.”

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