Most sports fans know Kevin Durant as an outstanding basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets, but the two-time NBA championship winner is also on a different team — off the court.
Durant and his longtime manager Rich Kleiman have launched a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, according to documents filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the filing, Durant is listed as co-CEO for Infinite Acquisition, which plans to go public by merging with a company in the sports, health, food tech, ecommerce or cryptocurrency sector.
The SPAC intends to go public under the ticker symbol “NFNT” and is seeking up to $200 million in investments from new shareholders. Durant and Kleiman didn’t name a specific entity they are targeting for a merger.
“We have not selected any business combination target and we have not, nor has anyone on our behalf, initiated any substantive discussions, directly or indirectly, with any business combination target,” Durant and Kleiman said in the filing.
Durant joins a growing list of well-known athletes who have started or invested in a SPAC, including Stephen Curry, Shaquille O’Neal and Alex Rodriguez. SPACs, also known as “blank-check” companies because they go public before finding a private company with which to merge, surged in popularity in 2020, drawing endorsements from celebrities and investors alike.
Outside the sports world, shares of former president Donald Trump’s new social media company surged more than 1,200% after it merged with blank-check company Digital World Acquisition last month.
Yet while SPACs have attracted billions in capital, they haven’t paid off for most investors, according to Goldman Sachs. Overall returns for the acquisition vehicles have been “below par,” analysts with the investment bank said in a recent report.
From ball to business
Basketball may be their first love, but athletes like Durant, O’Neal and numerous others often dip their toes into the business world during their professional sports careers or after their playing days are over.
For example, former Detroit Piston Chauncey Billups owns more than a dozen Wendy’s locations, while Los Angeles Laker Carmelo Anthony has his own investment firm, Melo7 Tech Partners. Los Angeles Laker LeBron James owns more than a dozen Blaze pizza locations, a production company and minority ownership stakes in several sports teams.
Meanwhile, the late Kobe Bryant invested in BodyArmor sports drinks soon after his NBA retirement. His estate recently earned a reported $400 million after Coca-Cola this week agreed to buy BodyArmor for $5.6 billion.
Durant has created a burgeoning business presence in his own right, notably as an investor in cryptocurrency platform Coinbase and in cannabis companies.
“Durant has become a well-respected investor and businessman with a diverse portfolio of over 70 venture investments across a variety of industries including sports technology, media, gaming, health/wellness and collectibles,” the SEC filing stated.
Khristopher J. Brooks is a reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering business, consumer and financial stories that range from economic inequality and housing issues to bankruptcies and the business of sports.
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