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Volume 6 No. 211


The owner of England's Aintree and Cheltenham racecourses "became the latest company to tap its customers for funding with a retail bond issue that pays punters a yield in both cash and a discount on a day out at the races," according to Duncan Robinson of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The Jockey Club, which runs 15 racecourses across the U.K., raised just less than £25M ($38M) in the retail bond auction, making it "the second largest unlisted retail bond issue" in the U.K. after retailer John Lewis in '11. While the Jockey Club’s bond offer had a cash coupon of 4.75%, the remaining 3% is "returned via loyalty points that can be used for money off tickets, food and drink at the Jockey Club’s racecourses." Racecourse group Managing Dir Paul Fisher said, “It’s a win-win” (FT, 5/30).

MAKING HISTORY: The BBC reported it was the first time "such a bond had been offered in British sport." Such was the interest that the original closing deadline was extended by 10 days "to allow further applications." The Jockey Club said the sum raised was "a great sign of trust in the strength of our 263-year-old brand" (BBC, 5/30). In London, James Moore noted the bond raised almost £18.6M ($28.2M) "by the original deadline," and added nearly £6.2M ($9.4M) "during the extension" (INDEPENDENT, 5/30). THIS IS MONEY's Lee Boyce reported there were 2,100 applicants with the average investment sitting at £11,783 ($18,000). The most popular investment amounts were £10,000 ($15,200), then £5,000 ($7,600) and £2,000 ($3,000) -- while 61 applications "were made for the maximum" £100,000 ($152,000) of Racecourse Bonds. According to statistics, 93% of the applicants chose the 7.75% gross interest blended offer, while 7% opted for a 4.75% gross interest cash-only offer (THIS IS MONEY, 5/30).

Australian rugby officials "will be rolling out the welcome mat for the British and Irish Lions and their 40,000 fans next week as they bank on the team’s first visit since 2001 to reverse two years of losses," according Dan Baynes of BLOOMBERG. The Australian Rugby Union said that "it expects the Lions’ nine-match trip, which is set to attract total attendance of about 400,000, to help boost revenue" in '13 by about 46% to A$140M ($135M) and enable it to post a profit. ARU CEO Bill Pulver said, "It is a phenomenal tour that is going to help us enormously. I’m hoping we’ll get to at least a A$10 million cash balance within the ARU, which is not a particularly positive one given the size of the business, but it’s a very strong result on the back of basically A$20 million of losses in the last two years." The "windfall generated by hosting the Lions only comes around every 12 years as the combined team of players from the U.K. and Ireland convenes on a quadrennial basis to play matches in either Australia, New Zealand or South Africa." This trip "marks 125 years since a rugby team representing the U.K. and Ireland first toured the Southern Hemisphere." Costing about £14M ($21M), it "will also be the most expensive," according to Lions CEO John Feehan. Feehan said, "If I had the same amount of revenue now as I did when we came down 12 years ago, I wouldn’t even cover 25 or 30 percent of the cost. Unfortunately Australia’s quite an expensive place now" (BLOOMBERG, 5/30).

One of the men behind the proposed flotation of F1 on the Singapore Stock Exchange "has revealed the plans may again be put on hold until next year," according to the PA. CVC Capital Partners co-Founder & co-Chair Donald Mackenzie has now suggested that "the IPO may yet be delayed further." Mackenzie said, "Our position on the IPO is when the market is right and the company is ready we'll look at it. Although the IPO market is better than it was a year ago, the company still has a few issues to sort out." The IPO would appear to suggest CVC "will end its involvement in the sport for good, but not so according to Mackenzie." He said, "We'd like to retain a stake in the business. We like being a shareholder, even though we get a bit of grief every so often from people who don't really know what they're talking about in my opinion" (PA, 5/30).