Zucker, who is expected to step down from CNN at the end of the year, is joined by Mindy Mount, vice chair of Technicolor, who also joined the board Tuesday. Existing members include Dick Parsons, former chairman of Citigroup and former chairman and chief executive officer of Time Warner, and Jen Wong, chief operating officer of Reddit.
Group Nine, the publisher of PopSugar, Thrillist and The Dodo, stands out from other digital companies in the space as it actually set up its own SPAC, while others such as Bustle Digital Group are looking to merge with one. Group Nine Acquisition Corp. was formed with the goal to go public and acquire other digital media businesses, which will be combined with Group Nine Media, in which it owns a 20 percent stake.
“We could not be more excited that Jeff and Mindy are joining the GNAC board. Jeff’s career in media and ability to see around corners are legendary, and Mindy’s financial and operational acumen are world-class. We’re thrilled to add their unique perspective to our team,” said Ben Lerer, CEO and chairman of GNAC.
For his part, Zucker added: “I have been a big fan of Group Nine Media’s work for years and recognize the unique opportunity that exists in consolidating the digital sector. I know that Ben and his team understand implicitly both where the digital industry is headed and what it takes to build a category defining company.”
While SPACs have been around for a while, media’s interest in them sparked in 2020 as the pandemic hit the sector hard, making consolidation, especially on the digital side, an increasingly attractive option. Companies slashing marketing budgets, more ads being swallowed up by Facebook and Google and venture capitalist investors’ waning interest in digital media have all played a part.
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