Woz Raises $150 Million For, Well, Nobody Knows

from the black-box dept

Looking to capitalize on the Apple halo effect, three former company executives, including co-founder Steve Wozniak, took their new company, Acquicor Technology, public yesterday in an IPO raising $150 million. The money they raised is purely based on their reputation, as Acquicor Technology, is officially designated as a "blank-check" company (no, really, it's in their filings), meaning they don't do anything yet and can do whatever they want with investor money. Wozniak seems to have a knack for using his name to raise money before having an established operation (in the case of his last venture Wheels of Zeus, he developed a dog-tracking device based on GPS). So why launch what is basically a public venture capital fund, which will inevitably have the CMGI ick factor? Perhaps because the compensation can work out so much better. The company's S-1 SEC filing reveals that while public investors are paying $6/share, the executives bought in at $.004/share, meaning they've already netted themselves over $30 million based on the size of the offering. Had they launched a $150 million venture capital fund, netting this much in performance fees would have been far harder. What makes the offering more odd is that the executives are very busy with their own projects -- CEO Gilbert Amelio is a partner at a VC firm, while Wozniak remains president of the aforementioned Wheels of Zeus. As the company doesn't have any full-time employees, it's not clear who will be tending to the investors interests. Other than following what investments the inventive Wozniak makes, it will be interesting to see how long he can continue to use his name for fundraising.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Don Gray, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 12:42pm

    Who needs printing presses?

    I'm going to start a Wheel Barrow distributorship in these guy's neighborhod...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Jon, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:02pm

    Don't belive the hype....

    Sounds like Woz is believing his own press.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    :HAn., Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:10pm

    Anyone but Gil

    Gil Amelio was responsible for nearly destroying Apple before Jobs was wooed back to save the company. Having Gil as a partner sounds like a plan for disaster on Woz's part.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Steve Woz, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:11pm

    I Suck

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Brian Merritt, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    The conversation with the bank....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Brian Merritt, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:18pm

    The conversation with the bank....

    Woz: Can we have some capital?
    Investor: For what?
    Woz: I don't know
    Investor: Ok, here's 150M....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anders, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:42pm

    Amelio

    Actually, Amelio was largely responsible of many of the initiatives that Jobs took credit for (including the first iMac).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Woz is God, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 1:51pm

    Woz can do no wrong

    I buy Wheels of Zeus products all the time. They're great.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    The Wildman, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Amelio

    Huh!? Actually, that's not true. Gil was out and Jobs hired Jonathan Ives a couple of months later to design the iMac. Amelio was responsible for nothing except putting Apple deeper down a hole. The only thing positive that Gil did for Apple was to leave the building.

    Check here:

    http://www.mymac.com/showarticle.php?id=2029

    and here:

    http://www.macintouch.com/norr021.html

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    steve (not woz), Mar 15th, 2006 @ 2:23pm

    i know steve wozniak

    i know him personally and he is one of the nicest guys ive ever met, ive even been to his house. I think that even if this seems shakey he will pull through.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Lion XL, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 2:32pm

    Ummm...what?

    Ummm...correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't the WOZ one those people who perfected social engineering(ie. hacking (earlisest form))?

    Seems like he's at it again, convincing people to do what would otherwise appear foolish.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Renee, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 2:35pm

    Re: The conversation with the bank....

    ha ha ha, exactly! nothing more be said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 2:36pm

    150 million could be used in a lot of good ways.

    It could be a good thing you never know. It does seem a bit fishy at first, but there are things that have worked like this in the past for the sole purpose you don't really want to tell your competitors ahead of time what business you're getting into. You don't just get investors. There are reasons why even if they aren't in the open eye.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Dmitri, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 2:36pm

    Re: The conversation with the bank....

    Believe it or not but that is exactly how Intel started.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Coop, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 2:45pm

    Maybe Woz and LEO Laporte!

    Maybe it's 150 million to built the TwiT e-store to sell hoodies? Either that - or he found another Green laser to buy.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Anyone but Gil

    Better Gil Amelio than John Sculley :-)

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Mike, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 3:42pm

    I think Woz is going into ichthyology to add "fricken laser beams" to sharks heads.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    HTK, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 3:46pm

    What should I do with the money?

    I hope they raised it for me. That would be such a nice surprise!

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Nathan Mallamace, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 3:48pm

    WOZ is an interesting guy. Don't get me wrong, but I think he's a little coo-coo in the John Nash, "Beautiful Mind," real-life guy sortt'a way. He's very generous with his cash from what I've seen of him around town, but very reclusive... this investment doesn't surprise me.

    Go Woz, more power to him!

    NATHAN

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    farlane, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 3:54pm

    I'm Surprised There Isn't More of This...

    I'm not surprised that the Woz could find enough people to throw $150 million at him to buy promising companies. All they are saying is "We think you have more tech savvy than we do - spend our money for us".

    Wealth allows risk. All this is is just an updated East India Trading Company.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    duh, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Re: Amelio

    dude, the article on the second link is like very old

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    duh, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Amelio

    and wtf, why aren't the comments threaded ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Brian, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:27pm

    Its a SPAC

    According to Woz in a TWIT podcast (http://twit.tv/40), its a SPAC.

    http://www.washingtontechnology.com/news/20_24/federal/27575-1.html

    "Special purpose acquisition vehicles, known as SPACs, have started popping up as alternative financing vehicles in the public sector. SPACs are companies that have no operations but that go public with the intention of acquiring a company with the proceeds of an initial public offering. Large institutional investors, such as hedge funds, usually buy shares of SPACs."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    ben, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Ummm...what?

    i thought that was Kevin Mitnick

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Lou, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re: Ummm...what?

    Bahahaha! :D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    CoMagz, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 1:09am

    This is in fact a VC in disguise

    They will acquire companies and use their personal hype to increase the sales and broaden the market for these companies.

    They may even bring some synergy into those companies or rebrand their products.

    This is actually a holding company / VC. VCs raise this kind of cash all the time so there's no big deal here.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Sean, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 1:36am

    Good rep?

    Is Woz's reputation really that good? I can't really think of anything big that he's done in a very, very long time. I assumed he's been living off what he made at Apple, cause he doesn't seem to have any real job.

     

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  28.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 16th, 2006 @ 1:50am

    Re: This is in fact a VC in disguise

    This is actually a holding company / VC. VCs raise this kind of cash all the time so there's no big deal here.

    No, as the article explained, there is something very different here, and that's the share price differential, basically giving Woz and co a huge profit for no good reason. That's a bit different than your typical holding company or VC raising money.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    gskrilla, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 2:14am

    Re: Who needs printing presses?

    HAHAAH good ol Woz, doesnt everyone remeber it's job's thats the business man and Woz makes the stuff!!!


    Picture the opposite Job's opening a new business so he can personally make the widgets himself everyone would laugh so i dont know why people arent laughing now!!

    Or maybe they are?

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    mkam, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 4:38am

    He is the one

    Woz is starting to believe.

    Woz: You telling me that I can dodge bullets?
    Oracle: I telling you that when the time comes you wont have too.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    mark, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 5:28am

    This all proves two old axioms. "A fool and his money are soon parted." and "There's a fool born every minute". That said, it would seem there are many people hoping The Woz et al can pull off another miracle, and come up with something that will make them all wealthier. They have a long way to go to catch up to BG.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    John, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 5:48am

    Flush sound

    That Woz your money - thanks

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Evil, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 5:54am

    Re: Who needs printing presses?

    So Woz can carry his money to the bank?

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Brett, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 6:24am

    Re: Who needs printing presses?

    So much depends upon a red wheel barrow,
    Glazed with rain water, beside the white chickens.

    It's a real poem, look it up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    John, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 6:27am

    SPACs

    are great investment tools. You buy the unit for $6 in the offering, and your immediate downside is $5.72. I'll take 28 cents of downside for $4 plus of upside any day of the week.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Allen Newman, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Amelio

    Jonathan Ive certainly was working at Apple before Steve Jobs' return. His influence can be seen in the Amelio-era Power Macintosh G3 All In One as well as the infamously expensive Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (for which Ive appeared in a promotional video).

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    AC, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 7:59am

    The Producers

    Hasn't anybody seen "The Producers" . . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Tom, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 8:34am

    Do NOT scoff: you could make money too on this dea

    Ever heard of Jamba Juice? It was just purchased by a company similar to Wozniak's (Service Acquisition Corp (SVI) purchased Jamba just this week and the stock is up from $7.48 on March 10 and is now at $10.55 -- that's 41% in less than one week). This type of company is called a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation) (see definition: http://tradingalmanac.blogspot.com/2006/03/triple-hindsight-report-friday-monday.html). In these companies, a management team is formed and then raises $ that they will invest as they see best fit. The management team gets a bunch of cheap stock but must put a few million dollars at risk (they have to support the warrants etc). Also, once they find a company they want to acquire they then have to receive 80% shareholder approval. If shareholders do not approve, all of the money is returned to the investors and the SPAC is dissolved. The management team would receive nothing. So, if you believe in Wozniak, consider getting some cheap shares now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    epobirs, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 8:42am

    Amelio not House

    Amelio was by and large on the right track with Apple but radical surgury was needed and he didn't fit in with the culture, so the crew there would tend to attend meetings with their fingers in their ears and singing, "La la la ..."

    Jobs main function was to engage his cult of personality and make it clear that things would either be done his way or death was the only alternative. Anyplace else Jobs could be a disaster but he was the only person who give Apple a serious slap across the face and make it take orders.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    C++ Builder, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 9:40am

    Coincidence?

    Isn't it a coincidence that this amount is exactly what people have quoted as being needed to buy Borland's IDE tools?

    Cross platform Borland IDEs would rock!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    phlux, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 10:04am

    Re: Its a SPAC

    It would also be very apparent from the name of the company:

    Acquicor Technology

    Acquirer of Technology...

    /obvious

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 11:12am

    Woz simply "sold out"

    Why would Woz hook up with the two biggest losers that nearly destroyed Apple Computer until Jobs came to the rescue?

    Well, the word on the street street is that Woz is actually running out of money and simply "sold his name" to those idiots in return for a fat fee of a few million.

    Anyone that has a clue knows that Woz is a serial-failure as a business person. He has started many companies after Apple but quick name a single one that is still around and actually made any money?

    Maybe if he did something like actually invent something new or build some software or hardware instead of just lending his 30-second idea and then getting bored and spending all his time playing segway polo they might actually get something done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2006 @ 4:07pm

    Your mom sold out.

    For real B.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    nada, Mar 17th, 2006 @ 12:06am

    Hancock was fired from 3 companies!

    The 3rd exec in this SPAC is Ellen Hancock, who was famously fired from IBM after 20 something years, and the IBMers still hate her. Her claim to fame there was telling John Chambers that TCP/IP was a fad and that SNA would rule. Ha! Then she went to Apple as CTO and to National Semi, and was fired from both jobs in less than a year each. Then she took over Exodus Communications and drove it into bankruptcy with ego-driven acquisitions that made no financial sense. Instead of getting laughed out of the valley, she got board seats with EDS, Colgate, and Aetna (short them all!), and now this. Ameilio is 50/50 good/bad. Woz is good branding. But Hancock is a nincompoop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Total Farker, Mar 17th, 2006 @ 9:10am

    My $6

    I'm gonna spend $6 on a tasty sammich.

    Now go away before I taunt you further.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    gideon, May 18th, 2006 @ 9:35am

    money

    hi what it takes to rise money for this new compay www.businessrec.com. i have a friend that can put $1.000.000 worth of advertising on nation wide t.v if i will be abale to rise $ 1.000.000 for oporation,mean's office aqupment,sales organzation,stuff - web designers,secrituris,and over head.what this site is all about is business directory to go city by city and in the same time to buy small advertising company all over the map. this is our goal and we do need a help.contact Gideon Azari thank you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Laika, May 25th, 2006 @ 9:23am

    Re: SPACs by John March 16th Comment

    Could you explain the math as to how one buys a unit/share $6, but that his only downside is $5.72 if the shareholders do not vote for moving ahead with the selected operating company? I had thought that most SPACs were structured so that initial investors would get back at least 80% of their initial investment if the deal was not approved by them. The 20% would be consumed by due diligence fees and expenses. In your example, they would get back 95% of their original investment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Laika, May 25th, 2006 @ 9:27am

    Re: Do NOT scoff: you could make money too on this

    I am pretty sure that no SPAC is structured that the investors will be getting back ALL of their money if the deal that the management team brings to the stockholders is voted down. I think they will get most of their money (around 80% or so), but one would have to look at the S-1 to see how it is structured. I just do not know of a SPAC that is structured with a 100% guarantee to the initial IPO investors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Laika, May 25th, 2006 @ 9:30am

    $6/Share public vs. $.004/Share Executives

    "The company's S-1 SEC filing reveals that while public investors are paying $6/share, the executives bought in at $.004/share . . . "

    Can you please share the math as to how the executives/management team were able to buy in at $.004/Share?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Steven Biars, Oct 30th, 2006 @ 4:20pm

    Woz is an idiot.

    Woz is an idiot.. period. If you read his biography, he ripped the design for the first apple pc's from other people, lied his way past HP so he wouldnt have to share his invention, and uses blank check companies to fund his "Segway polo" splurges.

    On top of that, you can own $10,000 in Apple stock, buy Apple products, and the fool wont sign an autograph. Jobs is the same way.. but atleast he realizes his time is worth money. Woz just wastes peoples time and money. No wonder he looked like such an idiot on TWiT... he is!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Richard Mofford, Jan 2nd, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Amelio not House

    It's an act of God. What people call a coincidence,is really some thing that is ment to be manifested.Would you really like to see a change in this economey an be part of this change to be manifested, if so please contact Richard on his cell 786-586-9900 or email . This program will be a new inovation which will inhence our comunities, bringing in a Lot of new job opportunities,

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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