Former CBS CEO Joe Ianniello Launches SPAC, Eyes Media Deals

Former longtime CBS executive Joseph Ianniello has launched a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, with a handful of former colleagues to scout for acquisitions in media, entertainment and sports.

The firm called Argus Capital Corp, filed with the Thursday to raise up to $300 million, offering 30 million units at $10. Ianniello is chairman and CEO of the group, headquartered at Columbus Circle in NYC.

Ianniello was most recently CEO of CBS Entertainment Group and had served as acting chief executive of CBS prior to its merger with Viacom. He’s joined by Argus president and vice chairman Marc DeBevoise, who was most recently CEO of ViacomCBS Digital.

The idea as with other SPACs is to leverage management’s combined expertise and target the media, entertainment, and sports industry, including “‘over-the-top’ digital streaming, mobile gaming/interactive entertainment, digital media including advertising/marketing technology, health and wellness/lifestyle, live events/experiential consumer-facing technology, and related industries,” the registration statement said.

Ianniello and DeBevoise have “established global relationships and has extensive experience in identifying and executing proprietary strategic investments in these sectors.”

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SPACs, also called “blank check” companies, cultivate investors based on the strength their management team and vision, go public and target other companies to buy who then become public automatically as well without having to launch an initial public offering, or IPO. The number of SPACs have multiplied exponentially over the past year. In media, BuzzFeed most recently merged last month with a SPAC.

Argus said its “themes of interest include the digital transformation of well-known media brands, the production and distribution of premium content, the ability to enrich consumer experiences through interactive platforms, the launch and growth of subscription businesses that build off the strength and scale of media assets, the creation of live experiences and transformative events in the worlds of sports, lifestyle/fitness and digital media, among several others, the advancement of local media assets navigating political changes, and the global licensing of domestic content,” the SEC filing said.

Argus Capital plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol ARGUU.

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