(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Richard Petty Motorsports primary shareholder, George Gillett, has signed “an exclusive collaboration” for his stake in the team to Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud. The Prince is a member of the Saudi Royal Family. This agreement signed Tuesday forms a partnership that will see a NASCAR racing circuit and Richard Petty racing schools in the Saudi Kingdom and elsewhere in the Middle East.
“The Middle East sports market has immense growth potential as eager fans in the region demand access to more diverse, high caliber competition. I am delighted, enthusiastic, and honored to have the opportunity to partner with such a visionary as His Highness Prince Faisal”, Gillett said after the signing.
According to many however, the agreement signed Tuesday is the first step to Gillett selling his stake in Richard Petty Motorsports.
As the two were publicly confirming the agreement, behind the scenes, Gillett and Prince Faisal acting on behalf of the Saudi sports investment group F6 he chairs, have begun a process of ‘due diligence’, the examination of financial records, with the goal being that Gillett would be bought out by the end of the year.
“The memorandum of understanding with the George Gillett group will establish an exclusive partnership between F6 group, Liverpool FC and Richard Petty Motorsports team,” an F6 statement read.
The primary deal in the works actually centers on British football club Liverpool that Gillett owns a 50 percent stake in, but the deal would also include Richard Petty Motorsports. As for the British football club, Gillett couldn’t act independently of co-owner Tom Hicks and sell his 50 percent stake without the permission of the Texan. However, Hicks would be willing to allow 25 percent of the club to be sold, an executive familiar with the situation said on Sunday.
The Prince was at Anfield Stadium in England on Saturday as a guest of Gillett, who confirmed that he has secured funding from the Saudi prince for his NASCAR team and an agreement to build Liverpool-branded football academies in the Middle East.
“George Gillett is at the helm of some of the most powerful and celebrated sports brands in the world,” the Prince said. “F6 is energized about the strategic partnership with his groups and seeks to lead the way with our investment partners in identifying the brands, personalities, facilities, and media that will catalyze the evolution of sporting experiences in the Kingdom and beyond, thereby introducing thousands of quality employment opportunities within Saudi Arabia.”
The entire deal is reportedly worth up to $560 million.
Gillett entered NASCAR when he became a primary shareholder in the team once known as Evernham Motorsports in 2007. The name was changed to Gillett-Evernham Motorsports. In January of this year, GEM merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports.
What do think about the Saudi Prince taking over Richard Petty Motorsports? Is Richard Petty going to still be the King, or will he now be downgraded to a Prince?
Who will be their new primary sponsor……Camel cigarettes????
What are the ramifications of this agreement?????
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!