Blank check firm led by ‘Moneyball’ maestro Billy Beane files for IPO

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RedBall Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company co-led by Billy Beane, the baseball executive featured in “Moneyball,” on Tuesday filed to raise $500 million in an initial public offering.

The special purpose acquisition company, backed by private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners, will offer 50 million units at $10 apiece, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

It comes to market during a boom in SPACs, which raise money from investors with the goal of buying a company they haven’t identified yet, usually within two years. Merging with a SPAC has become a popular way for companies to go public as the coronavirus pandemic upends the equity markets. Potato chip maker Utz Quality Foods and fitness franchise F45 Training Holdings Inc. announced SPAC deals in recent months.

Beane, Redball’s co-chairman, was a key figure in the 2003 book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” which dramatized his innovative use of data to transform the Oakland Athletics, where he is currently executive vice president of baseball operations. Brad Pitt played him in the movie version.

Beane is also a consultant to the Dutch football club AZ Alkmaar and a minority owner of U.K.’s Barnsley Football Club, according to the filing.

RedBall’s team also includes Co-Chairman Gerald Cardinale, Chief Executive Officer Alec Scheiner and Executive Vice President Luke Bornn.

Cardinale, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, in 2001 teamed up with the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family to form the Yes Network, the regional sports channel. He also joined forces with the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees to form Legends Hospitality, a business focused on merchandising, concessions and hospitality.

RedBird acquired France’s Toulouse Football Club this month and also made an investment in sports analytics company Zelus Analytics, according to the filing.

Bloomberg News