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Fewer CART Teams Could Make
Transaction Easier On OWRS
OWRS principals Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi are not "abandoning their plan to rescue" CART, but are "changing strategies in a move that may save them big money and aggravation even though it has created some major confusion," according to ESPN.com's Robin Miller. Instead of waiting for a December 19 shareholder vote on the sale, OWRS, "in effect, is asking the CART [BOD] to liquidate ... and sell them certain assets immediately." Since the merger agreement had provisions to guarantee that the number of cars would not decrease from '03, the folding of American Spirit's two-car operation gave OWRS a "new avenue to take that possibly will prevent any stonewalling or lawsuits by angry stockholders." Also, should CART go bankrupt, OWRS would not have to pay the $0.56 a share and would "likely be able to buy the assets at a greatly reduced price" (ESPN.com, 12/3).
EASY OUT? But stock analyst Dennis McAlpine believes that OWRS "might be trying to get out of the original deal." McAlpine, on CART: "There's nothing to liquidate. It's almost forcing CART into bankruptcy and gets Open Wheel out ... It's very surprising they come up with this now when no one in the world thought they would have 18 cars six months ago. To me, it sounds like a negotiating ploy to get the price down and cherry pick assets" (ST. PETE TIMES, 12/4). Crain's Cleveland Business racing analyst Denise Melilli is "not sure OWRS wanted to proceed once the field was reduced to 16 cars," adding, "They don't have enough teams right now and I'm not sure they're ... willing to prop the system with their money. (OWRS) is willing to invest a substantial amount of money to get the series back on track, but what it's going to take is more than what they're willing to give" (TORONTO STAR, 12/4).
INDY HONING IN? ESPN.com's Miller wrote, "The fly in the ointment for OWRS could be" IRL President & CEO Tony George, who "could out-bid OWRS for CART's assets, pluck the choice venues and deep six CART forever." Toyota, an IRL engine supplier, could urge or help George acquire CART's Long Beach race that it title sponsors. Toyota National Motorsports Manager Les Unger: "We look to the owners/promoters, which is Dover Downs and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. ... I don't know that anybody has any answers yet" (ESPN.com, 12/3). IRL VP/PR John Griffin would not "speculate on whether the IRL would be interested in taking over any of CART's venues." Griffin: "All I can do is remind you that in August we advised our manufacturers and teams to have update kits ready for the possibility of going road-course racing in 2004" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 12/4).
DUPUY ON SQUAWK BOX: MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy appeared this morning on CNBC's "Squawk Box," which was guest hosted by David D'Alessandro, Chair of MLB sponsor John Hancock. DuPuy discussed topics including steroid testing, baseball's recent resurgence, and the future of the game from the youth level. DuPuy, on baseball's success this past season: "I'd like to think it was a continuation of the sorts of things that Commissioner Selig has done under his leadership over the past 11 or 12 years and we can continue that. Increased revenue sharing, competitive balance tax, the format change [and] interleague play have all rekindled interest in baseball" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 12/4).
NFL: Oakland County (MI) exec Brooks Patterson, a member of the Detroit Super Bowl Host Committee, "wants to temporarily divert" the county's portion of the state's hotel-motel tax and give it to the committee. That amounted to $7.4M last year. While Patterson said "we cannot in good conscience donate $500,000 from our general fund," he added that he "wants to find some way to help" in '06 (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/4)....BC Lions President Bob Ackles said that the CFL, whose working agreement with the NFL expires on December 31, is looking to extend the deal about four months. The CFL is slated to make its final US$500,000 installment
East Urges NTRA To Purchase
Stable Of Worthy Horses
NTRA: In an Op-Ed in BLOODHORSE, Private Perfumery President Victor East wrote of the Thoroughbred Industry, "Any horse worth an investment in emotional attachment is being sent to the sidelines with a cough or put out to stud with a thud. ... The NTRA should purchase a stable of horses worthy of public attention, that will be the 'stuff' of what effective advertising is made, that will race in the races it puts on TV, that will campaign for as long as their legs have some run in them a dynasty of horses that will become as accomplished as the ... Yankees or as familiar ... as Funny Cide was this spring" (BLOODHORSE.com, 12/2).