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Shares of CART fell 13.9% yesterday after A.G. Edwards "questioned the relationship" between CART and ISL Marketing, according to a report in REUTERS, which notes A.G. Edwards downgraded CART stock to "maintain" on Tuesday "due to uncertainty in regards to our ISL sponsorship guarantee." CART has a nine-year deal with ISL. The stock closed at $16.25, a new 52-week low. The previous low was $18.13. CART CEO Joseph Heitzler said: "Although we are in discussions with ISL, it is premature to comment on the outcome of these discussions or the effect of ISL's management changes and other sports property renegotiations on CART's revenues and marketing plans" (REUTERS, 1/17).
Chicago-based Ignite Sports Media has secured $17M in third-round financing, according to Terry Lefton of TheStandard.com, who wrote the financing is "a development that belies the squeeze on content sites generally, and on second-tier sports sites in particular." New investors "include the AIG Global Sports and Entertainment Fund, whose partners include the Interpublic Group and General Motors." Williams Communications and Comdisco Ventures are also new investors. Ignite CEO Hank Adams said that "the new capital will be used to further Ignite's interactive TV efforts, including a current project dealing with the development of content for a cable TV company that will then package the content for sale to next-generation set-top boxes." Adams added that 50% of Ignite is "now owned by outside investors." Lefton noted that Ignite raised $5M in its prior two financing rounds, and that Ignite plans to use the new funds to "staff up its sales force." As part of the new financing, Octagon Group, the sports marketing division of Interpublic, will "help market Ignite's interactive expertise" (TheStandard.com, 1/17).