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SBD Global/October 29, 2012/Finance

Lance Armstrong Is Unlikely To Lose His Fortune Despite Calls For Refunds

Lance Armstrong "may have to pay back more than $3M in prize money, but he is still a rich man," according to Helen Pow of the London DAILY MAIL. Experts believe that "he will stay that way, despite his spectacular fall from grace." The embattled cyclist "has an estimated net worth of $125M, most of which has come from being the face of major brands including Nike and Anheuser-Busch." A Dallas-based promotions company that paid Armstrong more than $7M in bonuses for winning the Tour de France "is demanding he return the money, but most sponsors probably will not bother trying to make him pay for any reputational damage his drug-taking may have inflicted." While "badly behaved athletes are often dumped by the brands they represent, as in Armstrong's case, sponsors will rarely make them forfeit the money they were paid before the scandal broke." Law firm Day Pitney partner David Newman told the N.Y. Times that "a sponsor who wanted Armstrong to give back some of the millions he was paid while supposedly at the top of his game would have to prove the allegations against him, which he has vehemently denied." Newman said, "From a return on investment, you'd spend a lot of money on lawyers and lawsuits, and more publicity can't help your product. They don't walk away happy, but they'll say, better to cut our losses now." Armstrong's lawyers are "confident his sponsors will not sue for damages." Armstrong's lawyer Tim Herman said, "We don't have a plan for that because I do not expect that to happen" (DAILY MAIL, 10/27).
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