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Volume 24 No. 156


Spire Capital Partners is "shopping its majority stake in Indianapolis-based Just Marketing International, the motorsports agency that works across Formula One, NASCAR and IndyCar," according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The private equity group, which bought 50% of the agency five years ago, "hired Rothschild Group to put together a sales book and approach potential buyers." The "other owners" of JMI include Founder & CEO Zak Brown (20%), Credit Suisse (10%) and WPP (20%). JMI Chair and Spire Partner Bruce Hernandez said, “We’re a private equity fund, and this is a deal going on five years. That’s a natural cycle for us. ... It’s performed well. This is just what you do.” Sources said that JMI last year "claimed" EBITDA of $8M. WPP’s 20% acquisition of the company in '11 "valued it at more than" $80M. Hernandez said that Spire, which also owns the Professional Bull Riders, is selling JMI "because it is winding down its second fund and starting a third." Sources said that it "emphasizes the success JMI has had in building its international business, particularly in F1," where it brokered a five-year, $200M deal for UBS to become a series sponsor in '10. It also "underscores the sales success and relationships Brown has amassed over the years." Hernandez declined to discuss the details of Brown’s contract, but said that Brown was "committed to the agency" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/1 issue). Brown, who last week was mentioned as a possible successor to former IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, in a letter to the JMI staff wrote in part, "The fact Spire is actively exploring options for the sale of its investment in JMI is not a surprise to any of us." He told employees Spire is only in the "exploratory process." Brown added that it is "business as usual at JMI" (AP, 3/31).