Colin Kaepernick’s Acquisition Company Loses Lucrative Deal, Raises Doubts Of Ex-Athlete’s ‘Halo Effect’

Former NFL quarterback turned activist Colin Kaepernick lost out on a lucrative business deal with a social justice-driven lender after he refused to promote the business on national television.

The failure of Kaepernick’s special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Mission Advancement Corp. to finalize a deal with The Change Company, a lender that prioritizes serving minority borrowers, has sparked questions over how much businesses stand to benefit from partnering with the washed-up athlete, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The Change Company would proudly consider a partnership with Mr. Kaepernick—yesterday, today, or tomorrow,” Change Company CEO Steve Sugarman said in a statement after the deal ruptured.

In correspondence with executives at Kaepernick’s firm, Sugarman was more direct.

“There is a real question about whether there is [a] halo effect that translates into investor dollars,” Sugarman wrote in a December email to Mission Advancement Corp. executives. “We need to question that assumption.”

The SPAC model, especially for SPACs run by celebrities, has exploded in recent years. According to Investopedia:

A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is a company that has no commercial operations and is formed strictly to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO) for the purpose of acquiring or merging with an existing company. Also known as “blank check companies,” SPACs have been around for decades, but their popularity has soared in recent years. In 2020, 247 SPACs were created with $80 billion invested, and in just the first quarter of 2021, a record $96 billion1 was raised from 295 newly formed SPACs. By comparison, only two SPACs came to market in 2010.

Kaepernick’s SPAC launched its initial public offering in March, raising $345 million with the stated purpose of acquiring another company with social justice aims. The acquired company could then expect Kaepernick to use his platform to promote the business and attract investors.

The proposed merger between Kaepernick’s SPAC and Change fell apart after the prominent activist refused to sit for an interview with George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” in which he could have promoted the minority-focused lender. Kaepernick also refused to do other interviews announcing and celebrating the merger, according to WSJ.

If the deal had gone through, Kaepernick and his partner at Mission Advancement Corp., Jahm Najafi, would have received founders shares worth $80 million in the new company.

After Kaepernick’s last NFL game at the end of the 2016 season, the ex-athlete has leaned into social justice activism after rising to prominence for his protests of the U.S. national anthem. He has since struck multi-million dollar deals with Disney and Nike while keeping up constant criticism of the NFL, police, and others while promoting social justice causes.

Last month, popular podcaster Joe Rogan went after Kaepernick for comparing playing in the NFL to slavery.

“Imagine comparing the ability to do it or not do it, you sign up for it,.  everybody — like, so many people who play football want to be in the NFL. It’s a goal. It’s a dream. You can make millions of dollars. And imagine comparing that to slavery simply because they measure people’s physical performance,” Rogan said.

“That’s what he’s doing; he was measuring like wing spans and the combine scores, like for weightlifting and speed and all that stuff,” he noted. “That’s to see how physically adept you are, how good you’re gonna be at football, so they’ll give you tons of money. The idea that this is comparable to slavery, whoever f***ing wrote that down and then he — the fact that he read it and said it, and then they had that video where they’re comparing the NFL owners to the slave masters and they’re shaking hands with each other: What the f*** are you talking about?”

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