- A small investment valued Aston Martin at £1bn UK
- ‘Loss of appetite is not a word you would associate with Lawrence Stroll’, says Jefferson Slack
The Aston Martin Formula One team hopes to ‘compete with the best’ in the series following a minority investment from Arctos Partners.
The Silverstone team plans to benefit from the private equity firm’s deep expertise and existing relationships to build a more comprehensive commercial offering.
“These are the right partners,” Jefferson Slack, senior director of business and marketing at Aston Martin, told BlackBook Motorsport. “They bring a lot of expertise, they bring a lot of relationships.
“(Arctos) is a member of some of the best-run sports organizations in the world, (there’s a lot of) learning that can come from that, from business relationships, and best practices.
“This was more about a strategic partnership than, one, selling, because that doesn’t happen and, two, changing priorities. It’s the exact opposite.”
Rumors circulated that this investment was a sign of team owner Lawrence Stroll stepping back, but “loss of interest is not even a word you would associate with (him)”, according to Slack.
One missing element of the company’s portfolio was an investment in the fast-growing Formula One. Arctos is “the last group you’d ever sell if you tried to take a minority and turn it into a majority”, explained Slack. After all, Stroll has seen a huge return on investment since buying the former Force India team for 90 million British pounds ($114 million) in 2018.
This new investment valued Aston Martin at 1 billion British pounds (US$1.3 billion), which reflects the popularity of Formula One and the increased interest from American companies, especially after the recent. 200 million euros ($ 217.8 million) investment from Otro Capital and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners.
“This isn’t the first group like this to come into the game,” Slack explained. “It’s proof that this is a good sports property, it’s a good business.
“It’s a business that people think is going to grow massively. It’s a tribute to what (series owner) Liberty has done with the management of the game. It’s a tribute to the competition, the high budget, the drive to survive, the advancement of acceleration technology and All those things make F1 a great place to be right now.
He continued: “The game has taken over in the United States, it is the country with the largest economy in the world. In the past, major US companies looked at Formula One as a European marketing platform, but not a global one – certainly not one including the US. Now, that is not the case.
“I think the game will continue to grow and strengthen in the United States. That serves as a virtuous circle, because that brings in more partners, more television money, and (Liberty) can invest more in the product.”
While the US offers obvious advantages as an underserved market for Formula 1, it also offers a different perspective to a game that often gets stuck in an unconventional way of thinking.
“You have to be careful, because it’s natural that you can be included in a group to think and do things the way they’ve been done or the way other people are doing it,” added Slack.
“Maybe in some cases, that’s the best way to do it. If we go back, the fact is that the United States has the most sophisticated marketing systems for the sports business, the leagues there are the best in the world at that time. I think that’s not controversial to say that. so learning from, getting involved with those types of organizations, I think it’s helpful for us and I think we can help them too.
Moving forward, the hope is that this long-term partnership can help carry Aston Martin to the front of the field, something the team briefly tasted after an electrifying start to the 2023 season.
“(Arctos) has a green fund so, unlike most private equity funds, there is no deadline by which they have to sell,” Slack said. “They are long-term partners here, there is no way out that should happen. What could be achieved is that we would get a lot of strategic value on our relationship with them.
“We’ll be sitting here in three or four years to announce the value of this team and say ‘wow, this team has increased in value significantly’, so they know they’ve made a good investment and we know that. It’s helped us be more competitive and, ultimately, win. “