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11 Dec 2006

Hedge Fund buys stake in A1 Grand Prix

RAB Capital has bought a stake in the A1 Grand Prix. The RAB Special Situations hedge fund, run by Philip Richards, has taken an 80% stake worth £100m. The fund has been known in the past for taking large positions in natural-resources firms.

According to The Times Online, as part of the deal, A1’s management will be restructured, Tony Teixeira will move up to chairman while Peter da Silva, Brazilian-born motor-racing fanatic who has spent 20 years at Siemens, has been appointed chief executive. Ben Hill of RAB will also join the board.

Philip Richards said A1, which was launched two years ago and pits nation against nation rather than team against team as in Formula One, represents an opportunity to make a lot of money in China. “Our focus has always been on western-owned and western-run companies that sell successfully to Asia.

"A1 fits with this. Motor racing is one of the fastest-growing sports in Asia, it is watched by both the elite and the masses. It is also the only single event that spans the region and so offers a unique advertising opportunity for global brands.” Richards said.

“We’ve made a fortune selling natural resources, copper, zinc, coal and so on, to the Chinese. This is the same: we’re selling motor racing to Asians, and with it the only event available for global brands to advertise across the continent in the context of a western company.”

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