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.