- A rising number of SPACs are focused on growing health, wellness, and fitness companies and taking them public.
- Their target companies run the gamut from virtual and connected fitness brands to lifestyle media companies.
- Insider identified six wellness-oriented SPACs to watch for in 2021.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The SPAC boom has shown no signs of stopping, and it now has its sights set on the health and wellness industry.
SPACs, or special acquisition groups, have grown so rapidly that the number of companies filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission quadrupled in 2020, according to Insider data. In recent months, these blank-check companies — which are designed to take growth-stage companies public by bypassing the traditional initial public offering process — are increasingly showing intent to target companies ranging from connected fitness to health food and lifestyle media.
According to Avery Spear, a data analyst specializing in initial public offerings at Renaissance Capital, the virtual fitness market has been a rising target for SPACs looking to capitalize on the sector’s meteoric growth amid the pandemic. “The success of some of the big fitness IPOs like Peloton and then Mirror, which was acquired by Lululemon, demonstrate a growing appetite for high-growth home fitness,” Avery told Insider.
At the same time, a spate of newly formed health and wellness-focused SPACs indicate swelling demand for what Spear described as “better-for-you investing.” She cited the pandemic as a major catalyst in investments in such companies as consumers “become more conscious of healthier trends like healthy foods, fitness, and wellness.”
trend doesn’t seem like it’s going to be going away anytime soon,” Spear said. “It provides a great opportunity for companies that maybe were considering an IPO but decided this just wasn’t the right time, or companies that had been beaten down by the pandemic that are now looking for access to public markets, like your more traditional fitness companies.”
Here are the six biggest blank-check companies focused on health, wellness, and fitness to watch for in 2021.
Athlon Acquisition Corp.
IPO Price: $3 billion
Among the rising health and wellness-oriented SPACs, Athlon Acquisition is the most explicitly focused on the fitness sector.
According to its S-1 filing with the SEC in December 2020 , the blank-check company plans to target “businesses in the health, wellness and fitness sectors and the products, devices, applications, and technology driving growth within these verticals.”
Athlon Acquisition was formed by Causeway Media Partners, an investment firm focused on growth-stage sports, fitness, and media brands. Its current portfolio includes companies like the digital fitness platform Freeletics, the corporate wellness platform Peerfit, the sports apparel company Tracksmith, and the athletic events company Thrill One.
“Consumer health, wellness, and fitness businesses are supported by strong global growth trends as consumers increasingly commit to living a healthy lifestyle,” the company stated in its S-1. “Consumers are seeking tools and services to more effectively monitor, maintain, and improve their health and to achieve a diverse range of objectives, whether nutritional, athletic, fitness, or daily wellness related.”
IPO Price: $3 billion
Myx Fitness and Beachbody entered into a three-way merger with the blank-check company Forest Road Acquisition Corp. in March, with Beachbody becoming the parent company.
While Forest Road had broadly noted targeting brands in the “technology, media, and telecommunications” sectors in its S-1 filed in November 2020, the decision to team up with Myx and Beachbody indicates a clear focus on fitness. Myx is a Peloton competitor that specializes in digitally connected stationary bicycles, while Beachbody operates an array of streaming fitness platforms and nutrition products.
“The SPAC route was an efficient way into the public markets, to let us raise capital and take advantage of significant growth opportunities in this unique period in time of disruption of in-home fitness and fitness in general,” Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler told Insider earlier this year.
Though the newly formed company has not indicated any further acquisitions at this time, its formation reflects the growing value of the virtual fitness market and the potential for using SPACs to bring these companies public.
HumanCo Acquisition Corp.
IPO Price: $250 million
HumanCo Acquisition Corporation was formed in November 2020 by Jason Karp, founder of the clean-label chocolate company, Hu, which was sold to Mondelez for $340 million in February. Fresh off a cash infusion, Karp wanted in on the SPAC boom, and so teamed up with the investing firm CAVU Venture Partners to create HumanCo.
While health food brands will be likely targets for HumanCo, the SPAC’s target range is quite vast. According to its website, HumanCo’s “primary investment universe is within consumer and technology markets, including food & beverage, household products & personal care, beauty & wellness, fitness, and nutrition.”
“We intend to focus on the industries that complement our management team’s background, and to capitalize on their demonstrated ability to identify and acquire businesses focused on health & wellness and related industries in the United States,” HumanCo wrote in its S-1 filing in November 2020.
Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp.
IPO Price: $225 million
True to its name, Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp. plans to focus on “identifying businesses with premium brands that offer an aspirational lifestyle experience to consumers” which the company refers to as the “aspirational lifestyle space.”
The company filed with the SEC in September 2020, and has already received a significant buzz from Wall Street after announcing its February 2021 deal to bring the private aviation company, Wheels Up, public.
While Wheels Up doesn’t fall in the category of health and wellness company, there has been speculation that the broadly defined SPAC may target brands such as Goop, the lifestyle company owned by LVHM and founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
The blank-check is led by chairman and CEO Ravi Thakran, who is also a managing partner of the private equity firm, L Catterton.
Waldencast Acquisition Corp.
IPO Price: $250 million
Waldencast is led by former Anheuser-Busch InBev CFO Felipe Dutra, and former L’Oreal executives Michael Brousset and Hindi Sebti, who held the positions of group president and general manager, respectively.
While the company is looking for a “target business in the health, beauty, and wellness industries,” it noted in its S-1 that it may seek opportunities outside of these categories.
“Our ambition is to build a global best-in-class beauty and wellness operating platform by creating, nurturing, and scaling conscious, purpose-driven brands,” the company states on its website.
IPO Price: $200 million
BrightSpark Capital, which filed with the SEC in March, describes itself as a “blank check company targeting health, wellness, and beauty consumer businesses.” The SPAC was co-founded by retail executives Helena Foulke —who formerly served as CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company after spending 25 years in various leadership roles at CVS Health — and Marla Beck, co-founder of Bluemercury.
According to its S-1 filing, BrightSpark intends to target “differentiated, digitally forward” companies and brands with “deep customer loyalty, who understand consumer needs.” The filing indicates a specific interest in digital health companies.