The owner of the Boston Red Sox andLiverpool Football Club is in talks to go public through a merger with blank-check firmRedBall Acquisition Corp., according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
The transaction, which would combine the famed teams’ parent companyFenway Sports Group with RedBall, is set to value the combined entity at $8 billion, including debt, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
RedBall is set to begin tapping prospective investors about raising $1 billion in new equity, the person said. The special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, raised $575 million including so-called greenshoe shares in a U.S. initial public offering in August. Those proceeds will be used to acquire less than 25% of Fenway Sports, the person said.
RedBall’s co-chairman is Billy Beane, the executive for Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics who was featured in the book and movie “Moneyball.”
A deal, if agreed, could be announced by the end of the month, the person said. The deal hasn’t been finalized and talks could still collapse.
Representatives for Fenway Sports Group and RedBall declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the potential merger.
Billionaire John W. Henry II is the principal owner of Fenway Sports Group.
RedBall is part of an unprecedented surge in SPAC listings, followed by a string of deals as they hunt for target companies seeking to go public without the risks of an IPO. Of the $115 billion raised in IPOs on U.S. exchanges this year, almost half of that has been by SPACs, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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