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Sagansky to Raise $500M Through Blank Check IPO

Media veteran Jeff Sagansky is looking to raise $500 million through an initial public offering to amass the funds to buy his third media company in the past four years.

Sagansky recently filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO for Double Eagle Acquisition Co., a so-called “blank check” company that will use the money to pursue a business combination with an unnamed media firm. Blank check companies typically have a certain amount of time to invest their capital – usually about 18 months. The value of the target company needs to be at least 80% of Double Eagle's cash, although the company intends to pursue larger transactions, perhaps in excess of $1.5 billion. The sponsor, investor and management team will own 20% of the company prior to the business combination. Double Eagle has 24 months to complete its business combination.

Deutsche Bank Securities and Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as joint bookrunners for the offering, with Sterne Agee CRT and I-Bankers serving as co-managers.

Other cable executives have formed blank check companies in the past, including former Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson, former ESPN chairman Herb Granath and  Communications Equity Associates founder J. Patrick “Rick” Michaels.

This is the third blank check company Sagansky has organized. In 2013 Sagansky and partners James Graf and Harry Sloan formed Silver Eagle Acquisition Co., a blank check entity that raised $325 million in an IPO. Silver Eagle completed its business combination in March 2015, when it purchased about 38.3% of Videocon d2h, a provider of direct-to-home pay TV service in India.

In 2011 Sagansky, Graf and Sloan formed Global Eagle Acquisition Co., raising $190 million through that blank check entity to acquire Row 44 Inc. and an 86% interest in Advanced Inflight Alliance. Those companies later combined in a deal valued at $430 million and changed its name to Global Eagle Entertainment. GEE is a provider of media content, connectivity systems and operational data solutions to the travel industry.

With his latest blank check company, Sagansky and company are issuing about 50 million shares at $10 each and are looking to acquire one or more companies involved in the media business, including content providers.

“We believe our management’s significant operating and deal-making experience and relationships with companies in this space will give us a number of competitive advantages and will present us with a substantial number of potential business combination targets,” Double Eagle said in its prospectus.

Aside from Sagansky, who as more than 25 years’ experience in the media business (he served as CEO of Paxson Communications, co-president of Sony Pictures Entertainment and president of CBS Entertainment), Graf has served as CFO of the Silver Eagle and Global Eagle and as  a consultant to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Sloan, listed as a major founding investor, served as chairman and CEO of MGM from 2005 to 2009.