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.

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Comments on “Woz Raises $150 Million For, Well, Nobody Knows”

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The Wildman says:

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:


and here:


Andrew Strasser (user link) says:

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.

Brian says:

Its a SPAC

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


“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.”

CoMagz (user link) says:

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.

Mike (profile) says:

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.

Laika says:

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.

Tom (user link) says:

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.

Laika says:

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.

epobirs says:

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.

Richard Mofford (user link) says:

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,

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

nada says:

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.

gideon (user link) says:


hi what it takes to rise money for this new compay http://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

Steven Biars says:

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!

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