Aston Martin drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll at the Las Vegas Grand Prix opening event Wednesday night. (Getty Images)
With Formula 1 preparing for the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll has sold a minority stake in the Aston Martin team to U.S. private equity firm Arctos Partners.
The investment by Arctos, which has a stake in the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club owner Fenway Sports Group, values the F1 team at about £1 billion ($1.2 billion), according to a person familiar with the deal.
It is the first time Stroll has sold shares in the F1 team, which his son Lance drives for. He is also the largest shareholder in Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc, the British luxury carmaker. Aston Martin’s other F1 driver — Fernando Alonso — is currently fourth in the standings.
Bloomberg reported last month that Aston Martin team had been approached by potential backers.
“The Formula One teams appreciated in value significantly over the last few years due to the popularity of the sport, due to cost caps,” Stroll said at Aston Martin’s F1 headquarters at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix. “So, we’ve had conversations, but there’s nothing on the cards.”
The deal comes on the eve of the much-hyped Las Vegas Grand Prix this weekend and shows the growing appeal of F1 in the U.S., the Aston Martin team said in a statement on Thursday.
It is the latest in a string of deals and rising valuations in F1, which has seen its popularity soar in the U.S. thanks largely to the success of the Netflix documentary series “Drive to Survive.”
In June, Renault’s F1 team Alpine secured €200 million from RedBird Capital and Otro Capital, as well as actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, valuing it at €800 million. MSP Sports Capital led a funding round into McLaren’s F1 team in December 2020, which also included Walmart heir Rob Walton, Bloomberg News reported last month. The investment valued McLaren at £560 million, the company said at the time.
Vegas is the third F1 Grand Prix to be held in the U.S. this season after races in Miami and Austin. Liberty Media Corp. has invested heavily in marketing the sport in the US since buying the sport in 2017.
The funding for the F1 team comes as Stroll continues to try to turn around the listed carmaker, which he rescued in 2020. The group has since carried out multiple capital raises, bringing in investors such as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The terms and the valuation of the F1 deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, were not disclosed. Raine Group advised Aston Martin on the investment.