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DATE News (chronologically)
02/24/13
track news
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Is For Sale and SMI could be buyer UPDATE #3
Bruton Smith now has the money secured to buy IMS
One of the largest motorsports facilities owners in the United States, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., filed an 8K statement with the Securities & Exchange Commission on February 1, 2013 disclosing a new credit agreement with its lenders that allowed it, among other things, to draw up to $250 million for the purpose of "acquiring additional motor speedways and related facilities", a little more than a week before the Indianapolis Star broke the news that State Sen. Mike Young (R), whose district includes the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, planned to introduce an amendment the following week to SB 91 that would provide state funding of up to $100 million for the IMS. Perhaps it's just another in a series of coincidences.

According to the SEC filing made by Speedway Motorsports, Inc., one potential suitor speculated upon by this blog (in addition to a possible bid by Tony George and a group of outside investors should the IMS be offered for sale), Speedway Motorsports has entered into a new credit facility agreement with its lenders that provides for "a five-year $250,000,000 senior secured term loan" which it may draw "in a single advance no later than August 1, 2013" under certain terms and conditions. The credit agreement further permits the company to increase its revolving loan of credit or establish a term loan in an aggregate additional amount of $100 million. Amounts borrowed under the new credit agreement can be used to refinance existing debt and finance, among other things, "the acquisition of additional motor speedway and related investments," provided that certain prior senior notes due by 2016 are paid or redeemed in full. Speedway Motorsports already own some of the major motorsports tracks in the country, including Charlotte, Bristol, Kentucky, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Sonoma, Texas and New Hampshire. It's certainly not beyond the realm of speculation that a company like Speedway Motorsports would be interested in the IMS if it is offered for sale.

A spokesman for the IMS, Doug Boles, denied a report by this blog to another blogger yesterday of a rumored plan by the Hulman-George family members to sell the IMS, but the legislation sponsored by Sen. Young imposes no restrictions on the sale of the IMS as a condition to state taxpayers being on the hook to contribute up to $5 million annually over the next 20 years to service debt on bonds issued to raise funds the IMS says it needs to make improvements to the Speedway's motorsport facilities. There have been numerous rumblings in recent years of a potential sale of the IMS, as well as an attempt by former IMS CEO Tony George, along with a group of investors, to purchase the IndyCar series just last fall. Advance Indiana Political Blog

02/23/13 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway denies its for sale.  Sent the denial out on the back-side of the press release they used to deny Randy Bernard would not be fired as IndyCar CEO [He was. Within days].

Frankly, the question is not IF IMS is for sale.  Nor is the question who's the buyer [Tony George? Really? / Zak Brown? Not without OPM, IMO]. Hello, NASCAR.

US racing IS NASCAR.  Other than Drag Racing, what's NOT theirs [They own AMA bikes, BTW]. And with the Brickyard 400 and Grand-Am racing the track, why not also own the Indy500 - 'The Greatest Spectacle In Racing' and its lifetime of American racing history?

When NASCAR bought the ALMS, they got its premier tracks, too - Road Atlanta and Sebring.  This time, by acquiring the premier venue [IMS] NASCAR likely backs into owning the  IndyCar Series. Think of it as a 230mph housewarming gift.

IMO, it's not IF, this buy / sell will happen, it's when.  The rumor about 'now' could be true. But, not likely to happen now.  Because the Indy Senate's $100MM Improvement Grants beat back any need for a buyout right now.

How about 2015?  After the ALMS-Grand-Am consolidation is set.  After NASCAR has rebounded.  After INDYCAR flounders a bit more.  After the 500 and 400 attendance $$ keep dropping off.  Yeah, the value of the property improvements will keep the price strong, but by 2015, the seller will be 'motivated'.  Really motivated. Shakedown.Kinja.com

02/22/13 Boles is still saying the speedway is not for sale.

02/22/13 I told you earlier this week that sources indicated that a sale of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by the Hulman-George family has been in the works for some time. Mari Hulman-George, heir of the late Tony Hulman, along with her three daughters, all of whom sit on Hulman & Company's board of directors, decided it's time to unload the race track her late father brought to international fame. According to a well-placed source, Tony George, grandson of Hulman, is part of an outside group of investors in negotiations to buy the IMS.

Mari and her daughters decided to oust Tony George from his role as IMS CEO in 2009 following the Formula One debacle that reportedly cost the IMS more than $150 million and as family members grew increasingly concerned Tony was squandering their inheritance. Last year, Tony resigned from Hulman & Company's board of directors, his last remaining role within the family fortune, following reports that he and an outside group were attempting to wrestle control of the IndyCar series away from the IMS. Then-IMS CEO Jeff Belskus claimed that George agreed to resign due his conflict of interest. Belskus emphasized at the time that the IndyCar series was not for sale and no offers of sale were under consideration.

What Belskus did not disclose was the fact that the Hulman-George family members had already made up their minds to unload the IMS and were working behind closed doors with Indiana legislators on a plan to capture up to $100 million in state funding for improvements to the IMS in an effort to enhance the value of the IMS to a potential suitor. George's departure from the board of directors gave him a green light to form an outside group of investors to acquire the IMS. The family then brought in Mark Miles, the former head of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and chairman of last year's Super Bowl Committee, to step into a new role as IMS' CEO replacing Belskus, who remained with the IMS in a reduced capacity.

The source says Miles was fully aware of the planned sale of the IMS when he was brought aboard as its CEO last fall, and even Indiana's top lawmakers knew of the planned sale but agreed to hold that information close to the vest to avoid any risk of upsetting a taxpayer-financed buyout of the IMS they had already agreed to back before the convening of this year's legislative session with no public debate.

Essentially, Indiana taxpayers are being taken for a ride as part of a deal to provide Hulman-George family members with a sweetheart buyout deal of the IMS financed on the backs of taxpayers. The $100 million cash infusion ensures the buyout group led by Tony George that it will have free money to remake the IMS in their own vision. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. AdvanceIndiana.com

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