Mar 9, 2021 - Economy

Scoop: CNN president Jeff Zucker joins board of Group Nine SPAC

Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images

Group Nine Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by media company Group Nine, is adding CNN president Jeff Zucker and Technicolor SA vice chair Melinda (Mindy) Mount to its board of directors, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Media watchers are obsessed with Zucker’s moves as he considers his next chapter after CNN. Zucker runs one of the world’s largest news organizations, and is credited with leading CNN’s digital transformation.

  • The idea behind the Group Nine SPAC is to consolidate digital properties to create scale.

Be smart: Group Nine's SPAC is uniquely structured to allow it raise money to acquire another company while potentially taking itself public in the process, all while facing much less financial scrutiny as it would with an IPO.

  • It's also unusual in having a company as a sponsor instead of an investment firm or group of individuals.
  • This positions Group Nine as a buyer of other media companies. The company could eventually combine with a company it buys and go public.
  • Few other SPACS have similarly complex tie-ups amid parties.

Details: Zucker and Mount join the two other independent members of GNAC’s board of directors, including co-founder and partner of Imagination Capital and a director of Lazard Ltd and Lazard Group Richard (Dick) Parsons, who is also the former Citigroup and Time Warner Chairman, and Reddit COO Jen Wong.

  • Group Nine Media CEO Ben Lerer leads GNAC as CEO and chairman. Group Nine Media president Brian Sugar is president and director.

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