Leading Formula One and Nascar sponsorship agency up for sale as JMI investor explores exit

The majority shareholder in the world's largest motorsport sponsorship agency, Just Marketing International (JMI), has decided to sell its stake.

According to multiple reports from the United States, the majority shareholder in the world's largest motorsports sponsorship agency, Just Marketing International (JMI), has decided to sell its stake.

Spire Capital Partners, an investment firm, has owned 60 per cent of the agency, which has its headquarters in Indianapolis but operates globally, since 2008, but is now believed to be exploring sale options.

The Associated Press reported that JMI founder Zak Brown (pictured), in a letter to staff explaining the move, wrote: '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'.

The letter added: 'There is no immediate timeline in place for a transaction to occur and no guarantee that one will occur in the near future. JMI's leadership and employees continue to be focused on providing excellent service to our clients and continue to grow our business.'

Brown, who founded the agency in 1995, retains a 20 per cent stake, while advertising agency WPP has also owned 20 per cent since it made a 'strategic investment' in JMI in July 2011.

JMI is heavily active in Nascar and Indycar, as well as Formula One where in the last two years it has brokered deals between UPS and FerrariUnilever and Lotus and GlaxoSmithKline's wide-ranging agreement with McLaren. The agency also brokered financial services giant UBS' giant deal with Formula One in 2010.

One of the agency's breakthrough clients, in 2002, was Nascar sponsor Subway, while it also assisted the likes of Farmers Insurance and Diageo brand Crown Royal into the sport. The latter deal, brokered by JMI in 2004, was particularly notable as the first Nascar sponsorship following the relaxation of the series' 58-year ban on spirits company sponsors.

Brown himself has recently been linked to a leadership position at the Indycar Series, admitting earlier this month that he has held exploratory talks about a role.


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