Heartland Media Acquisition Corp.

SPAC Ticker
Media, Entertainment, Sports
External link: SEC Filings



Mr. Robert S. Prather Jr., Chief Executive Officer , has extensive experience in the media, entertainment and sports industry. Mr. Prather and a partner acquired control of Gray, a public company, in late 1993. During his tenure, he helped grow the market capitalization of Gray from approximately $52 million to more than $400 million. He was instrumental in increasing Gray’s EBITDA from approximately $6 million at the beginning of his tenure to approximately $176 million during his final full year, representing a CAGR of approximately 20%. Through strategic and transformative acquisitions, Mr. Prather helped Gray increase the number of television stations it owned from three to 30, as well as increase the number of newspapers owned from one to five. Mr. Prather anticipated the eventual decline of the newspaper industry, and in December 2005 Gray spun off five newspapers and one wireless business to a separate public company. Gray operated 22 number one ranked television stations and stations in 17 college towns and eight state capitals. Mr. Prather also served as CEO and a Director of Bull Run Corporation, a sports and affinity marketing management company, from 1992 until its merger into Triple Crown Media, Inc in December 2005. During his time at Gray, Mr. Prather and his partner also acquired Host Communications, a college sports marketing business which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bull Run. Host Communications provided sports marketing and productions services to a number of collegiate conferences and universities. After successfully growing Host Communications, the business was sold in 2007 to IMG, led by Ted Forstmann, for $74 million. Following his tenure at Gray, Mr. Prather formed Heartland Media in 2013 and partnered with MSouth Equity Partners to help grow the business. Under Mr. Prather’s leadership, Heartland Media acquired its first television station in 2013, and from 2014 to 2017 it acquired 10 additional television stations for total consideration of $220 million. Mr. Prather grew Heartland Media’s cash flow to approximately $29 million in 2019. Mr. Prather led the sale of 11 television stations by Heartland Media in February 2020 for $305 million cash. Mr. Prather also currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Allen Media Broadcasting, LLC.

Since 2004, Mr. Prather has served on the board of GAMCO Investors, Inc. (NYSE: GBL) where he is the Lead Independent Director. He has also served on the board of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), formerly known as Gaylord Entertainment Company, since 2009. Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. is a REIT which specializes in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. Ryman Hospitality Properties also owns the Opry Entertainment Group. Previously, Mr. Prather served as a director of Diebold-Nixdorf, Inc. (NYSE: DBD) from April 2013 to April 2018. In 2015, Mr. Prather was actively involved as a board member in Diebold’s $1.9 billion acquisition of Wincor Nixdorf AG, a German ATM maker and financial technology company, which combined the second and third largest ATM / financial technology companies in the world. Mr. Prather was previously the largest shareholder of Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: RAWL), where he served as Vice-Chairman from 1998 to 2001. He was instrumental in selling Rawlings to K2 Inc. for a 48% premium to the unaffected share price. Mr. Prather was on the Board of Directors and an Advisory Board member for Swiss Army Brands, Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: SABI) from 1995 to 2011. Mr. Prather received an undergraduate and graduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Salvatore Muoio, CFA , is the founder of S Muoio & Co. LLC and the manager of several related investment partnerships. Mr. Muoio has significant experience in the public markets and has been involved in the securities industry since 1985. Prior to establishing SM Investors, L.P. in 1997, Mr. Muoio served in the equity markets group of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC from 1995 to 1996 as Director of Equity Research and as an equity analyst concentrating in telecommunications and media industries. Mr. Muoio started his career at Gabelli Funds, Inc. from 1985 to 1995 where he served in several capacities, including as a securities analyst for Gabelli & Company, Inc., Director of Research for GAMCO Investors, and as Portfolio Manager for the Gabelli Global Telecommunications Fund, Inc. Mr. Muoio also serves on the Board of Directors of LICT Corporation and CIBL, Inc., which are diversified publicly traded holding companies involved in various telecommunications, media, and service businesses. Mr. Muoio closely follows companies in the media, entertainment and sports industries which will be helpful in sourcing a potential business combination. Mr. Muoio is a member of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts, as well as the New York Society of Securities Analysts. Mr. Muoio received a B.B.A. with a major in finance from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 and an M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from Notre Dame in 1985.

Steven T. Shapiro is a founding partner of GoldenTree Asset Management and sits on GoldenTree’s Executive Committee. For many years, he was responsible for the firm’s investments in media and communications as well its investments in distressed assets. Started in 2000, GoldenTree currently has approximately $40 billion under management and is based in New York, with offices in West Palm Beach, London, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Dublin. Under Mr. Shapiro’s guidance, GoldenTree made numerous successful investments totaling several billions dollars in sectors including broadcasting, outdoor, entertainment, publishing, cable and telecom. Mr. Shapiro was a Managing Director in the High Yield Group at CIBC World Markets, where he headed Media and Telecommunications Research. While at CIBC, Mr. Shapiro was involved in several billions dollars of equity and debt financings for media and communications companies. Prior to its acquisition by CIBC in 1995, Mr. Shapiro was a research analyst with The Argosy Group, a high yield investment-banking boutique in New York. Before joining Argosy, Mr. Shapiro was a bankruptcy attorney with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York. Mr. Shapiro’s extensive experience will be invaluable in helping assess and evaluate potential business combinations. Mr. Shapiro has served on numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards. He is currently a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York. Mr. Shapiro is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as Senior Editor of the Labor Law Journal. He graduated with Honors from the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts & Sciences with a major in modern diplomatic history and was a member of the History Honor Society.

Alan J. Weber is the Chief Executive Office of Weber Group LLC, focusing on investments in the Financial Services and Technology Services industries/sectors. He has vast experience as a senior executive at financial companies, including large publicly traded companies such as Citibank and Aetna, Inc. Mr. Weber is the former Chairman and CEO of U.S. Trust Co., a 160 year-old firm specializing in trust, investment management, tax and estate planning and private banking. Prior to joining U.S. Trust in October 2002, Mr. Weber was Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer at Aetna, Inc., where he was responsible for corporate strategy, capital management, information technology, investor relations and financial operations. The cornerstone of Mr. Weber’s career was built at Citicorp, where he worked from 1971 to 1998, holding senior positions in corporate banking, consumer banking and corporate operations/technology. Mr. Weber was Chairman of Citibank International and an Executive Vice President of Citibank. Mr. Weber is currently a director of Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., a global provider of investor communications, securities processing, wealth management services and outsourcing solutions to the financial services industry. Mr. Weber is a director of Street Diligence, Inc., a fintech services business. From 2008 until 2018, he was the Chairman of KGS-Alpha Capital Markets, a fixed income broker-dealer. Previously, Mr. Weber was a director of Diebold-Nixdorf, Inc., and Sandridge Energy, Inc., (NYSE: SD), an oil and gas exploration company. Mr. Weber received his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

John Zieser is a senior media executive with a unique and long-established record of success in business development and deal-making, business operations and acquisition integration, and finance, audit, and corporate governance. Mr. Zieser serves as Chief Development Officer and General Counsel for Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP), one of the nation’s leading multi-platform media and marketing services companies. He is responsible for managing the Company's business development functions and oversees company-wide legal affairs, corporate privacy, and government relations. Mr. Zieser has played a key role in the transformation of Meredith’s businesses through multiple expansion initiatives in the media, digital, consumer revenue and licensing sectors. During his time at Meredith, Mr. Zieser has been directly involved in over 300 transactions many of which are mid-stage digital, consumer revenue and marketing services and media businesses, combined with larger disruptive and synergistic transactions of traditional media businesses, all aggregating to approximately $10 billion in transaction value. Select transactions which Mr. Zieser has been instrumental for Meredith, include its $2.8bn acquisition of Time Inc and several local TV station acquisitions for purchase prices in aggregate of over $680mm. As part of the integration of Time, Mr. Zieser led a rigorous strategic portfolio review of the combined Meredith / Time businesses. This review resulted in Mr. Zieser leading an aggressive series of unique and “bespoke” sales processes of non-core business, which generated in over $1 billion of net sales proceeds. Between 2018 and 2021, this process included high profile sports brands such as Sports Illustrated (, Golf ( and FanSided, as well as over-the-top (OTT) platform XUMO. While at Meredith he has been instrumental forging major strategic partnership transactions with market leading companies such as Apple, Walmart and Wyndham. Mr. Zieser’s relationships and deep M&A diligence experience will be invaluable in helping evaluate potential business combinations. Prior to joining Meredith, John was Group President at First Data Merchant Services, an $800 million subsidiary of First Data Corporation. Prior to First Data, he was with the multi-national law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell where he specialized in U.S. and international mergers, acquisitions, venture capital and private equity transactions. Mr. Zieser earned his law degree from Cornell University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and serving as Senior Editor on the Cornell Law Review. Mr. Zieser earned both his MBA and BBA degrees with Beta Gamma Sigma honors from the University of Iowa.