Apple alumni Amelio, Hancock, Woz start Acquicor Technology ‘blank check’ company

“Everybody wants a piece of the Apple magic. Investors have clamored for the stock, which has doubled in less than a year. Entrepreneurs have hopped aboard the iPod gravy train by building add-ons whose sales mushroom as the popular music player prospers. Now even Apple alumni who have nothing whatsoever to do with the company’s current success want in on the action,” Adam Lashinsky reports for Fortune. “Watch this week or next for shares of a new company called Acquicor Technology to begin trading on the American Stock Exchange under the ticker ACQU. Its founders are Gil Amelio, briefly Apple’s CEO in the mid-1990s; Ellen Hancock, his Apple lieutenant and later CEO of Exodus Communications, which entered bankruptcy in 2001; and Steve Wozniak, Apple’s loveable co-founder who hasn’t worked there in a couple decades.”

“You’ve definitely heard of Apple. Perhaps the names Amelio, Hancock and Wozniak ring a bell. But never heard of Acquicor? Don’t feel bad. It barely exists,” Lashinsky reports. “Acquicor is an example of a new kind of gift from investment bankers to eager public shareholders called a SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company. Its less formal name is a ‘blank check’ company, a totally appropriate moniker because if you buy its shares you’re giving a blank check to its founders.”

“In this case, those luminaries will be attempting to sprinkle a little Apple pixie dust in the public markets. Amelio and team have been criss-crossing the country on a strange mission. They’re asking institutional investors to give them $100 million so they can make an acquisition they can’t yet identify,” Lashinsky reports. “According to the bizarre rules under which SPACs are created, the team can’t talk to buyout candidates until they’ve raised their cash. If all goes according to plan, however, Acquicor will complete its offering this week and its shares will trade publicly. Then it’s got two years to spend most of the money or be forced to give it back.”

More details in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “Rainy Day” for the link.]
A bit of history: Amelio became Apple CEO on February 2, 1996, succeeding Michael Spindler. Under Amelio’s guidance, Apple’s stock hit a 12-year low, and in the second quarter of 1997, the company lost $708 million. The smartest thing Amelio ever did (with the urging of Hancock) was to buy Steve Jobs’ NeXT for $402 million, bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple. On July 9, 1997, Gil Amelio was ousted as CEO of Apple by the board of directors and Jobs stepped in as the interim CEO. Thus began the greatest second act in the history of business. “Within days of the NeXT acquisition, Jobs began lobbying for the demotion of… chief technologist Ellen Hancock, whom he repeatedly referred to as a ‘bozo,’ say Apple managers,” Peter Burrows reported for BusinessWeek on March 17, 1997. Hancock tendered her resignation alongside Amelio. Woz is Woz.

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22 Comments

  1. Meh, when I read the headline, I thought it was going to be Herbie Hancock. Now Herbie and the Woz, that might be something to see. But why is Woz getting involved with Amelio? Hasn’t Amelio ruined enough companies? I’d guess this is an Amelio-Hancock vehicle all the way, and they just begged Woz to lend his name to it.

    The only intriguing angle would be if they’re doing this for the purpose of buying a division that Apple is selling off. But even then it would have to be something Jobs thinks is worthless, because there’s no way he’s going to trust Amelio with something he cares about.

  2. “Then it’s got two years to spend most of the money or be forced to give it back.”

    I vote for spend!

    Is this how the Enron worked?
    is this how the Bush works?
    Is this how the USA works?

    OMG ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”big surprise” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Hey, my iMac is over 3 years old… AppleCare’s expired. Think they have a bit of spare change for me in this SPAC problem.. I mean, program?

    Heck, as long as they’re throwing away money, why not throw some in my direction? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

    MDN MW: heard

    Haven’t they heard that Amelio and Hancock almost made Apple history?

  4. “This is an Apple thread.”

    Barely. I apart from the involvement on ex-Apple employees, I can’t see what this has to do with Apple.

    Seems like a publicity exercise to try to grab some of the positive market buzz about Apple and transfer it to this un-affiliated company.

  5. To: Hey, One Girl from Finland…

    Personally, I feel that the forum benefits from a little political thrust and parry. But I realize that not everyone can take the heat. Fortunately, for those individuals, there’s always the option of a hasty retreat to the nearest undisclosed location where one can find a comfortable cadre of like-minded fascists. Oops… I mean folks (white-folk). Oh… there I go again.

  6. Oh, that’s easy…

    First acquire Commodore International, then Amiga Inc. buy some nice real estate for the new headquarters and maybe a small assembly plant. Start churning out new Commodore Amigas that are design savvy like Apple and its Macs. Goal; bringing more added value and choice to the computer market.

  7. Everyone loves Woz – but I have to be honest – he strikes me time and time again as someone who doesn’t “get it”. He once did, of course, but in every interview I’ve ever read or watched of him since his Apple days, I’ve always been a bit turned off. He just seems kind of an aimless, wandering fellow who hasn’t found a good direction to stick with. The fact that he’s tagging along with these two clowns only deepens my suspicions.

  8. Now Woz is undoubtedly a hardware genius, but personally I don’t believe he every really got it.

    The Apple I and Apple II were Woz tinkering around with ideas he had when building prototypes for Atari games machines. He’s a cool ideas person and a tinkerer. I’d say that the fact that the Apple II became a reasonably successful business and educational computer is not so much down to his design, but rather just the luck of being there at the right time.

    At Apple Woz should have moved on to produce more cool computers, but instead he tinkered with the Apple II and got stuck there…

    I’m sure there are some areas of life Woz does get but when it comes to business and technology development he seems pretty clueless to me. That’s not uncommon for highly intelligent people though.

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