|Saxo Bank HQ: yours for only €500 million|
Danish company Saxo Bank isn’t really a bank, it’s an online currency trading platform. And it’s up for sale, according to the Copenhagen Post. It has three principal shareholders, Kim Fournais, Lars Seier Christensen and private equity General Atlantic have appointed investment banks to handle the sale. This isn’t going to happen overnight.
What does it mean for the cycling team? For me it’s likely that a new owner won’t want to fund a cycling team. The typical demographic for cycling is in fact made up of housewives and senior citizens, not really the core market for currency trading, even if the odd idle customer might fancy a flutter on the markets.
Instead any corporate buyer is likely to target its ad spend towards more fruitful ventures. Whilst Saxo has broadened its awareness, did you know even know wasn’t a bank? Instead, it’s been a nice interest for Lars Seier Christensen, a cycling fan, to fund the team. Like so many other sponsorship decisions we see once again a powerful corporate figure – not beholden to pesky shareholders – making a quasi-personal decision to fund a cycling team.
Of course this isn’t the case with Riis’s new sponsor Sungard who are genuinely interested in using the sport as a marketing tool. But based on what I’ve read, a co-sponsor is needed to ensure the team is sufficiently funded.
Given the chances of a new buyer being unwilling to fund the team, plus the question marks over Contador, I think it’s safe to say things are going from bad to worse for Bjarne Riis. The hunt for 2012 sponsors begins now.