SBD/Issue 31/Finance

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  • RPM Hopes To Finish Sprint Cup Season With Future In Jeopardy

    Loomis (r, with Petty) Intends For RPM To Finish
    This Season, But Four Cars At Daytona Is Unlikely

    Richard Petty Motorsports “hopes to continue racing though the remainder of the 2010 Sprint Cup season,” but RPM Competition Dir Robbie Loomis “stopped short of guaranteeing that Saturday,” according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. Loomis said that he has “confidence that the Petty team will survive to run the final four races of the season.” Loomis: “Will we be in Talladega (next week)? Yeah, I hope we’re all in Talladega. It’s our full intentions to continue rolling right along.” Pockrass noted RPM’s “ability to continue operating has come into question six months after” co-Owner George Gillett had to restructure a $90M loan for the NASCAR team and a week after Gillett was “forced to sell the Liverpool soccer team he co-owned over his objections that the price was too low.” Roush Fenway Racing co-Owner John Henry's New England Sport Ventures acquired Liverpool. Gillett also sold the Canadiens last year. Loomis said, “There’s been a lot of speculation about a lot of things. There always has been in this sport. The thing that gives me confidence is we’ve always had the ability to move forward.” RPM last week granted a release to driver Kasey Kahne, and Loomis said, “Most things we have been working on throughout the week is what do we look like in 2011, what our driver lineup looks like the rest of the year since we lost Kasey.” Loomis said that there has been “no change in the management or ownership of the team.” He “declined to comment on whether there are investors looking at buying into the team” (SCENEDAILY.com, 10/23). Loomis said of the '11 season, "I'd be very surprised if you see four (entries) at Daytona in February, but we are working hard to be as strong as we can. I won't say that three is out of the realm, but we've got to keep working every day to find out where we're at" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 10/24).

    Gillett Still Owns RPM, Though Reports Have
    Petty Trying To Round Up Investors

    GILLETT STILL IN CHARGE: Loomis confirmed that Gillett “still owns RPM,” and declined to comment on speculation that RPM co-Owner Richard Petty is “trying to round up investors that would allow him more control of the organization.” Loomis: “There are a lot of people working collectively together to make this thing more successful as we go forward in the future” (AP, 10/23). Loomis said, “The Gilletts, they’ve been through a lot obviously -- everyone knows that. They’ve worked really hard to be a four-car team last year and continue it this year, and now we’ve got to look at what our teams are gonna look like going into next year” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/23). Petty yesterday “would not comment on whether he is attempting to put together investors to purchase majority interest” from Gillett. But RFR co-Owner Jack Roush said that Petty is “attempting to purchase controlling interest" of RPM. Roush said Thursday that RPM “was up to date on payments.” Roush: “They are not in debt with us. ... I assume there is another payment due between now and the end of the year, but I don’t know how much.” Roush added, “One thing I have heard is Richard is negotiating for a larger stake in Richard Petty Motorsports” (ESPN.com, 10/24). Petty yesterday said that he “cannot talk about the future” of RPM and “politely declined to comment on the reports of financial instability of the team” (SCENEDAILY.com, 10/24). In Charlotte, Jim Utter writes Petty is the “big loser in the problems that have befallen” RPM. He “might not even have much to do with a solution.” NASCAR and the media “are partially to blame for perpetuating the myth Petty actually runs the organization” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/24).

    INVESTORS WANTED: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Tripp Mickle reports Gillett’s “financial difficulty" following the sale of EPL club Liverpool has put the future of RPM "into doubt and left the NASCAR team’s owners and lenders searching for investors to keep the team afloat.” The Gilletts and Pettys “began an aggressive search for investors this month.” Sources said that RPM officials have “hired the Gordian Group, a New York-based investment bank, to assist them in their search, while the syndicate of banks that lent Gillett more than $90 million to buy the team have been working with FTI Consulting, a global consultancy specializing in corporate finance, to find investors.” Sources said that Gillett “also owes Ray Evernham at least $20 million and Roush Fenway Racing several million dollars” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/25 issue).

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