CuriosityStream to Go Public Via $330 Million Merger

CuriosityStream, a streaming platform for documentaries on science, history and other topics, has agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check company Software Acquisition Group Inc.

The business, founded by Discovery Channel creator John Hendricks, is valued in the deal at about $330 million including debt, according to a statement. To finance the transaction, Software Acquisition is raising an additional $25 million, with about 60% coming from new investors.

Mergers with special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, have gone mainstream this year with firms seeking to go public without the risks of an initial public offering. A total of $16.2 billion worth of SPAC mergers have been announced this year, compared with about $7 billion for the same period in 2019, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Part of the appeal is that these transactions can be faster than a regular IPO and that target companies get to release forward-looking financial performances, which isn’t allowed in the traditional listing process.

“We pride ourselves on being lean and nimble,” CuriosityStream President Clint Stinchcomb said in an interview. “This is obviously a lot of work, but it’s less strain on the existing management team.”

CuriosityStream has attracted 13 million subscribers with shows about dinosaurs, world leaders and technology. The streaming service, available in more than 175 countries and territories, offers both original series and licensed programming.

Though tiny relative to major streaming services such as Disney+ and Netflix Inc., CuriosityStream has carved out a more specialized niche.

Software Acquisition raised $150 million including so-called greenshoe shares in its November listing on Nasdaq. Jonathan Huberman, chief executive officer of the blank-check firm, was head of Ooyala Inc., a video content work-flow management firm.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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