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IRG Sports + Entertainment announces major financing deal with TPG Specialty Lending and acquisition of two new tracks

Friday, 03 October 2014

JUPITER, FLORIDA - October 2, 2014 - IRG Sports + Entertainment™ (IRG) President & CEO, Jason Rittenberry, announced today that the Company has entered into a finance agreement with TPG Specialty Lending (NYSE:TSLX), the publicly traded affiliate of TSSP, the credit and special situations investment platform of TPG. The new credit facility is replacing IRG's existing debt facilities on all companies, make capital improvements to existing assets owned by the Company and to close on the acquisition of Cordova Dragway Park in Cordova, Illinois (to be rebranded as Cordova International Raceway™ (CIR), that was announced in late 2013. The TPG facility also provides the Company with funds to purchase an additional major motorsports venue, which the Company will announce in the coming weeks.


The addition of Cordova adds to the existing stable of motorsports assets owned by IRG, which includes the 44-year old sanctioning body, the International Hot Rod Association™ (IHRA), previously purchased from Feld Motorsports, and venues Palm Beach International Raceway™ in Jupiter, FL, Memphis International Raceway™ in Memphis, TN and Southwestern International Raceway™ (SWIR) in Tucson, AZ .


A new division in the IRG portfolio for 2014, IRGSE Productions, with subsidiary IHRA Productions was launched this year to produce the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series television show for MAVTV. This new show will debut on the popular automotive network on November 6, 2014 as a 13-week series.


"The ability to access additional capital allows us to fund and accelerate our growth plans for IRG. We have been aggressive with acquisitions in the past few years," noted Rittenberry. "This funding will allow us to improve those venues - and complete our planned acquisitions of Cordova and one additional major motorsports venue, in addition to improving our IHRA national tours and introducing new content."


The Company is now sufficiently capitalized to begin the $10 million in capital improvements with the majority scheduled to be completed in time for the 2015 racing season. The planned capital improvements include:


  • Palm Beach International Raceway™ (PBIR) - a clubhouse with pit garages and operations tower on the Road Course, concession and restroom buildings, ingress and egress improvements, additional grandstands for the Road Course, new LED monument signage at entrance
  • Memphis International Raceway™ (MIR) - the addition of a 3/8-mile dirt track, restroom and concession remodeling
  • Southwestern International Raceway™ (SWIR) - new restroom building and office building, renovated restaurant and pit repairs
  • Cordova International Raceway™ (CIR) - new fiber optic timing and LED scoreboards, additional grandstands, resurfacing of the Drag Strip
  • IHRA Motorsports™ (IHRA) - additional track preparation equipment and rigs; new lighting, sound and stage equipment; development of new show content and a national touring series; growth of IHRA Productions and new media content


"TPG Specialty Lending looks forward to working with IRG to grow its business over the next few years," said TPG Specialty Lending Managing Director Thomas Steiglehner.


IRG was represented in the financing by a team of lawyers led by Matthew Pace at Arent Fox LLP in New York, who has been working with the Company for several years in developing the plan for IRG and introduced existing client, TPG, to IRG. TPG Specialty Lending was represented by Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York. Murray Schwartz, Esq. of Karlinsky, LLC in New York and Steve Parson of Shutts Bowen in west Palm Beach, FL represented IRG in the acquisitions of the venues.  


In addition to providing financing to the Company, TPG Specialty Lending will join IRG principals Joseph Lubeck, Michael Dezer and the DeBartolo family, along with Rittenberry and Schwartz, on the Board of IRG.


About IRG Sports + Entertainment™

IRG Sports + Entertainment™ (IRG) is a leading purveyor of sports and live entertainment experiences and is the privately-held parent company of International Raceway Group™ (IRG), IRGSE Productions™ and the International Hot Rod Association™ (IHRA). IRG owns and operates Palm Beach International Raceway™ (PBIR), Palm Beach Driving Club® (PBDC), Memphis International Raceway™ (MIR), and Southwestern International Raceway™ (SWIR). Located in Jupiter, Florida, PBIR is the company's flagship and home to PBDC, a private members-only club for automotive enthusiasts. The facility features a challenging 2.034-mile asphalt Road Course, an exciting 1/4-mile concrete Drag Strip, a thrilling 8/10-mile Kart Track, and a 250-foot-long Mud Bog. Acquired in January 2011, MIR is a highly acclaimed motorsports facility located in Millington, Tennessee, featuring a formidable 1.8-mile asphalt Road Course, a riveting 1/4-mile Drag Strip, and an enthralling 3/4-mile Tri-Oval Short Track. Added to the IRG portfolio of brands in August 2013, SWIR is a 110-acre venue located at the Pima County Fairgrounds, 10 miles from downtown Tucson, Arizona. The track features a dedicated quarter-mile Drag Strip and first opened in August 1997. Owned and operated since January 2013 by IRG, IHRA is the second-largest drag racing and fourth-largest motorsports sanctioning body. The 44-year-old organization manages two national touring series, the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series™ and Sonic Rush Tour™. With headquarters in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA sanctions more than 110 motorsports facilities in the U.S. and Canada and has more than 12,000 racers of all skill levels as members. IRG's subsidiaries now promote more than 800 motorsports, live entertainment and corporate events annually at its venues and series. IRG is also affiliated with Miami's Auto Museum at The Dezer Collection, Palm Beach Grand Prix, Super Chevy Show Series, Fun Ford Weekend, and Mega Mopar Action Series.  

Last modified on Friday, 03 October 2014

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