A newly-formed American investment company has Formula One on its radar. Ties between one of the group’s co-founders and F1 are hard to ignore.
Could another American ownership group buy into an F1 team? It’s a distinct, but admittedly too early to predict, possibility.
BY STEVEN COLE SMITH, AUTO WEEK
SportsTek Acquisition Corporation, which went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange Thursday, was formed exclusively to acquire or partner with existing sports entities, and according to its co-chairman, Tavo Hellmund, a Formula 1 team is a possibility.
Hellmund, the man who brought Formula 1 to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, as well as Mexico City, told Autoweek that SportsTek has multiple businesses on its radar, and partnering with an existing F1 team may be among them.
According to a NASDAQ press release: “The company was formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses. Although the company’s efforts to identify a prospective business combination opportunity will not be limited to a particular industry, it intends to focus on a target within the sports and related sectors including sports franchises, media, data analytics, and technology and services businesses serving those end markets, among others.”
Besides Hellmund, board members include Jeff Luhnow (former GM of Houston Astros and a current St. Louis Cardinals executive), R.C. Buford (San Antonio Spurs CEO), Sashi Brown (former Cleveland Browns GM, now with Washington Wizards and Capitals), and Jim Carney, an options trader.
Hellmund was one of the investors who looked hard at the distressed Manor F1 team in 2015. Another was a group led by Michael Andretti, former IndyCar and F1 racer, now a team owner. One of the calls Hellmund plans to make is to Andretti, as the two discussed joint F1 ownership in the past. “Since hanging up his gloves, Michael has proven he is a world class team owner. F1 would be better off with him, without a doubt.”
SportsTek’s initial public offering is valued at $150 million, with the value increasing as new investors sign on. Once the securities comprising the units begin separate trading, the company expects that its Class A common stock and warrants to be listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbols SPTKU and SPTKW respectively.
Value-wise, Hellmund agreed that the two F1 teams that would top a theoretical acquisitions list would likely be Alpha Tauri and Sauber (Alfa Romeo). Hellmund said the new Concorde Agreement and other costs caps are making F1 ownership a more attractive option than before.
Featured image by PETER FOX, GETTY IMAGES