As Richard Petty Motorsports continues to wobble, new details are emerging about the financial stability of the company, and the news is troubling indeed for fans of The King and his 2011 scheduled drivers, Marcos Ambrose and AJ Allmendinger, as well as anyone employed by RPM.
The troubling state of RPM's finances broke wide last week with the untimely departure of Kasey Kahne, and a new investigation indicates just how much the sale of the Liverpool FC soccer team hurt RPM owner George Gillett (right), and in turn, the team as a whole. Liverpool sold earlier this month for $475 million, far less than Gillett was expecting; the expected sale price would have helped keep RPM afloat. The company is now seeking investors to help keep it operational.
Some more details of the Gillett investigation:
• Gillett owes Ray Evernham at least $20 million and Roush Fenway "several million dollars." Evernham has up to a 16-percent ownership stake in the new operation, formed when he sold his share to Gillett and Gillett partnered with Richard Petty Motorsports.
• Speaking of The King, he owns about 4 percent of the team that bears his name. That's not a typo.
• RPM is now current on all its debts to drivers and employees, which quashes a rumor that RPM owed Kahne money.
• RPM now employs about 240 people, about 80 percent of what it was when Gillett purchased the team.
• Of the two cars RPM plans to run next year, only Ambrose's No. 9 is sponsored, by Stanley Tools. RPM continues to negotiate with Best Buy over sponsorship of the 43. Best Buy pays approximately $6 million a year to sponsor an RPM car, well below the standard $15 to $20 million for marquee sponsorship.
The full article is essential reading for anyone interested in knowing the details of the RPM operation, and how fragile the company is at this point.