The motorsports marketing company founded by the top candidate
to become the next CEO of IndyCar is for sale.
Zak Brown informed the staff of Just Marketing Inc. by letter
this weekend that Spire Capital Partners is trying to sell its 60
percent stake in the company. A copy of the letter, obtained Sunday
by The Associated Press, told employees a potential sale is
”completely unrelated” to IndyCar’s courting of Brown.
”The fact Spire is actively exploring options for the sale of
its investment in JMI is not a surprise to any of us, as we have
always acknowledged this is Spire’s ultimate intention and purpose
as a private equity firm,” Brown wrote.
Spire purchased 60 percent of Zionsville, Ind.-based JMI in
2008. Brown, the founder and CEO, and still owns 20 percent, as
does advertising agency WPP.
Brown told employees Spire is only in the ”exploratory
process” and it’s business as usual at JMI.
”There is no immediate timeline in place for a transaction to
occur and no guarantee that one will occur in the near future,”
Brown wrote. ”JMI’s leadership and employees continue to be
focused on providing excellent service to our clients and continue
to grow our business.”
Mark Miles, the new head of IndyCar parent company Hulman &
Co., acknowledged during last weekend’s season-opener at St. Pete
that Brown is a candidate to replace Randy Bernard as CEO of the
open-wheel series. He said discussions with Brown are the most
serious of all candidates, but Brown has to decide if he’s
interested in the position or wants to concentrate on JMI.
”He’s got a complicated life that he’s got to sort out, and
we’ve also got to do our due diligence,” Miles said. ”We continue
to learn about each other and how we think, and he can speak for
himself – he’s got other interests, and this isn’t a part-time gig.
So we’ve got to see.”
Brown did not immediately reply to a request for comment
JMI does a large share of its business in Formula One, and Brown
is often in Europe overseeing those deals. He was recently
considering a full-time move to London to concentrate on his F1
clients, but said last week he was in discussions with Miles.
”I have a lot of passion for IndyCar and I’m getting to know
Mark,” Brown told AP. ”We are exploring to see if there’s a way
to work together. It’s a great product and I’m positive I could
contribute to its growth and success.”