David Falk, FAME Founder and former agent of Michael Jordan, and Donna Orender, former President of the WNBA discuss the Digital Virgo platform, the future of esports and the market for SPACs on Yahoo Finance Live.
BRIAN SOZZI: France-based mobile payments company Digital Virgo announced it has acquired through a SPAC merger with Goal Acquisitions Corp. will go public. It’s a blank check company founded by prominent sports executives, including Michael Jordan’s longtime agent David Falk and former WNBA commissioner Donna Orender. This $513 million deal will bring Digital Virgo to the US market.
Let’s bring in Goal Acquisition board members David Falk and Donna Orender. Good morning to you both. Donna, let me start with you. Why are you doing this transaction? And with that money, how are you going to invest it?
DONNA ORDER: Well, first of all, we’re making it because we got together about a year and a half ago. And we wanted to find a company that we thought had great value, that creates great things – that not only has great value, but also produces great value related to this business. And so we were finally able to identify and close this deal. And ultimately, when we do that, that money will be used very effectively by this company to do more M&A and continue to grow this great Digital Virgo company.
BRAD SMITH: David, what kind of M&A do you think is on the agenda right now?
DAVID FALK: Well, the company currently has a global footprint, but it doesn’t have a presence in North America. And our team, Donna and I, Harvey Schiller, our chairman, Jon Miller, former chairman of AOL, we believe that we have hundreds of years of contacts and relationships in the world of sports and entertainment that we really have tremendous Anchors for Digital Virgo here in the United States and North America.
Julie Hyman: So, David, if I can follow that up, do you see Digital Virgo as just the beginning of something you hope to create through acquisitions, through organic growth? How do you see Digital Virgo in five years, in 10 years?
DAVID FALK: That’s a great question. So that’s what I teach at Syracuse University’s Falk College. I think the future of sport lies in the convergence of sports, entertainment, gaming, betting, technology and artificial reality. And Digital Virgo is a one-destination platform that makes it possible to use all these activities as well as music, travel and commerce around the world.
Our task is therefore to identify future acquisitions that will allow the company to continue to grow. Digital Virgo has had seven consistent years of profitability. It’s a very well established, solid company. And our job on the Gold team is to create very, very meaningful future growth.
Julie Hyman: Donna, I’m going to address a little bit of the elephant in the room if I can and ask about the SPAC structure to move this deal forward, because the SPAC has definitely had a rise and fall in, say, the last year. How did you come up with this kind of vehicle to bring Digital Virgo to the public?
DONNA ORDER: I think we had a really disciplined diligence throughout our process. In terms of finding the type of company, be it a SPAC or an IPO, the market will always want to invest in companies that are cash-flowing, relevant and continuing to grow. In addition to what David said, let me add that over the last 15 years they have acquired 14 companies and effectively and efficiently integrated them into one global platform.
So you’re an incredibly well-run company with a vision to offer more goods and services. And whether there’s an elephant in the room or not, especially at a time when a market is saying, people are saying, oh, it’s falling. You know what? Then people and investors will become more demanding. And if you’re more demanding, you’ll find the really good stats, and this is one of them. And that’s why we’re so optimistic and very happy with this partnership.
BRIAN SOZZI: David, we talk a lot about how the streaming movement is starting to really turn the sports industry upside down, whether it’s basketball, baseball, golf – you name it. I mean, how do you see that in the next five years?
DAVID FALK: Well, I think five years from now, if you watch the Super Bowl, you most likely won’t be watching it on NBC or Fox. You would watch it on Amazon or Netflix. And once your team wins, you press a button and order goods from your team. That is what Digital Virgo is. It is a one-stop, one-destination platform that will enable streaming and all kinds of entertainment options for its customers.
You have to consider that there are five times more non-bank and credit card customers worldwide than there are. So the audience is huge. It’s in the billions. And our job is to build strategic partnerships. We currently– Digital Virgo has over 150 telco partners around the world. And that includes America. So we’re going to meet with the American telecom companies. We’ll be meeting with all the leagues and teams here in America over the next few months and looking to build exciting new partnerships that leverage this new technology.
BRAD SMITH: And on the streaming side, Donna, believe that — and I’m bringing that up because even during your time with the WNBA, there were some big partnerships that were formed there. WNBA is also streamed on Twitter. And so with some of these various partnerships on the streaming front that you’ve either been involved with or that you can control, if we’re seeing the lack of a major player on Twitter — and maybe I’m looking too far out into the future — but where to would some of that social side of the conversation overflow?
DONNA ORDER: It’s very interesting. I can say that we have a technological backbone that has enormous growth potential in many ways. Yes, streaming, and also with sports we don’t know exactly what that will be. I saw Adam Silver say recently, we don’t know where it’s going to be three years, five years.
But maybe we should bring an NBA game and just show you the last two minutes. And there’s a company called Buzzer, and wouldn’t we be interested in working with them to provide that kind of customer service? Serve customers all over the world. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
I think what that gives us is tremendous flexibility and the use of imagination to create customers, goods, services and content in ways that we’ve imagined for many, many years, but maybe really are a lot more realistic now carry out.
BRAD SMITH: David Falk, Goal Board Member and Senior Advisor, Donna Orender, Goal Board Member and Past President of the WNBA, thank you for your time on the day. We really appreciate it. David, you’ll be happy to hear I’m playing basketball tomorrow, so get games in my Air Jordans too. So you’ll be happy to know.
Julie Hyman: Donna wants to be part of it.
DAVID FALK: [INAUDIBLE]
BRAD SMITH: Thank you for joining us. Happy Thanksgiving to you both.