SBD/October 22, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Source: Texas Teachers' Fund To Buy 3% Stake In F1 For $200M

F1 will travel to Austin in November for a race at the Circuit of the Americas
The Teachers’ Retirement System of Texas (TRS) has "reached a preliminary deal to acquire a 3% shareholding in F1 from the estate of Lehman Brothers, the investment bank whose collapse in 2008 helped to trigger the global financial crisis," according to Mark Kleinman of SKY NEWS. It is a "$200m deal." Talks between the Texan pension fund and the Lehman estate are "understood to have been brokered by CVC Capital Partners." If an agreement is reached, it would "be the first reduction in Lehman’s 15% stake in F1 since the Wall Street bank went bust in September 2008." Sources said that further placements of its remaining shares "are likely to be made in [the] future because the estate is in wind-down mode." Under the shareholder agreements governing F1’s parent companies, other shareholders "are not allowed to sell part of their stakes without CVC’s consent." Sources said that given it "brokered the Texan investment ... CVC’s consent for the latest deal was not in doubt" (SKY.com, 10/19). REUTERS' Simon Meads noted the deal "follows a string of powerful investors that have bought into Formula 1." BlackRock, Waddell & Reed and Norges Bank Investment management "invested in the company when public markets shunned a planned initial public offering of the Formula 1 business" (REUTERS, 10/19).

GETTING THE GREEN LIGHT: In Austin, Doolittle & Maher note former IndyCar driver Mario Andretti yesterday "officially opened the Circuit of the Americas ... breaking in the $300 million racetrack with a few laps in a vintage Formula One ride, a Lotus 79 Cosworth." Organizers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony that "featured Andretti, actor and race driver Patrick Dempsey and local and circuit officials, including Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and state Comptroller Susan Combs" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 10/22).

WAITING GAME: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Heather Haddon reported the "first Grand Prix to be held in the New York metropolitan area will be postponed a year" from '13 to '14. Organizers said that the "postponement was due to 'ongoing construction issues' in building the 3.2 mile course." Grand Prix of America Exec Chair Leo Hindery in an e-mail said, “We promised [N.J. Governor Chris] Christie, the towns, the sport and its international fans the best possible experience, and unfortunately we need additional time to ensure that happens." Organizers said that additional time is "needed to build a second pit and a garage at the Port Imperial site." Progress has been made "in constructing the first garage, track engineering and hiring" (WSJ.com, 10/19). 

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