The private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group has revealed that it has taken a stake in the new Manor GP team which is due to compete as Virgin Racing next year. The news comes the day before Virgin Racing hosts a media event in London at which it will give more insight into the venture.
Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC), the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group announced the deal today, claiming in a press release: "The investment is consistent with LDC's core investment principles of seeking out unusually attractive market segments, and then backing British business, proven management teams and of continuing to invest throughout the business cycle.
"Together with a unique commercial and sponsorship strategy that is expected to produce strong revenues, this talented team is well-placed to capitalise on the huge commercial opportunities presented by F1," the press release continued. "LDC believes that an investment now in a F1 team is most attractive as the governing body, the FIA, has moved to ensure that an already very attractive industry will be made more viable in the future."
The move is sure to raise eyebrows as Lloyds was one of the banks bailed out by British taxpayers earlier this year and comes at a time when Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) prepares to leave the sport following widespread condemnation of its involvement in F1 at a time when it was going cap in hand to the government for financial assistance.
The Financial Times claims the LDC deal is worth around £10 million.
By September of this year, Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland are believed to have received around £40 billion in direct government aid.