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RedBall Deal for SeatGeek is Not a Home Run

On Real Money, Jonathan Heller wasn't too excited about the idea of the RedBall SPAC acquiring the ticket sales platform.

TheStreet’s Jonathan Heller is a Philadelphia Phillies fan, but he hasn’t had much to cheer for in 2021, as the Phillies failed to make the playoffs -- again.

“There's no joy in Philadelphia this year, at least for Phillies fans, as our team once again failed to make baseball's playoffs.” Heller wrote recently on Real Money. “The Oakland A's didn't make it, either, which I am sure pains A's part-owner, Vice President of baseball operation and 'Moneyball' subject Billy Beane.”

Beane is stepping off the field and into the business of sports with his involvement in special purpose acquisition company RedBall Acquisition Corp.  (RBAC) . Beane serves as co-chairman of the company, which went public last October. Merger talks with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group LLC stalled in January. But on Wednesday, RedBall announced it is acquiring ticketing site SeatGeek in a deal with an enterprise value of $1.35 billion.

When Heller saw the news of a potential SeatGeek deal break on Friday, courtesy of a trading halt in RBAC, his first thought was that he'd missed the boat.

“I took positions in RBAC and MUDS units last October but closed them in late August out of boredom and the belief that it would be tough for the company to make a good deal in this market given elevated valuations,” Heller wrote. “Let's face it, that is one of the downsides of SPACs; there is pressure to get a deal done, and sometimes deals fall through anyway, as in the case of Mudrick Capital's  (MUDS)  Topps deal that died a painful death in August.”

Heller consulted an expert for more insight. “While our resident family ticket buyer prefers StubHub given a larger population of tickets he'd typically buy, he did state that SeatGeek does have some features he likes better than StubHub,” Heller noted. “Either way, though, I'd hoped that RBAC would acquire part of a sports team franchise and not a more peripheral entity.”

Shares of RedBall were little changed following the announcement, trading around $9.90.

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