Billionaires Louis-Dreyfus & Sartori Buy Into FIM World Supercross
After a tumultuous few weeks with rumors of race cancellations, boardroom negotiations with financial backers, and a press release that promised “positive future developments” to support the FIM World Supercross Championship, SX Global has announced the sale of its business to a new investment group.
The organization, led by Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and Juan Sartori, will work alongside longtime WSX principal Adam Bailey, who will maintain his role as CEO of the series as it continues its second year.
“We’ve identified exciting opportunities for the burgeoning championship and can’t wait to further showcase the thrill of the sport and talent of these amazing athletes to more people around the world,” said Louis-Dreyfus in the press release.
The 25-year-old Frenchman is a second-generation executive with a majority stake in English Football League Championship club Sunderland AFC, a five-percent ownership of Marseille, a team in France’s Ligue 1 series, and interest in Ovation eSports. He is the son of Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who served as CEO of advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi and sporting giant adidas, and his great-great-grandfather Léopold Louis-Dreyfus established the family’s businesses in agriculture, shipping, energy, raw materials, and finance.
“While we aspire to expand and elevate WSX to become a globally renowned championship, we also recognize the need for immediate short-term changes to ensure a brighter future,” continued Louis-Dreyfus in the press release. “There’s a lot of work to do, but we’re excited for the challenge.”
Sartori echoed the sentiment in the email sent out Thursday evening, saying,
“Supercross is an incredible spectacle with huge, huge potential. I’m very excited to get started on the task ahead, to grow the sport and showcase it to more fans and new locations worldwide.”
The 42-year-old Uruguayan is known for forming the Union Group immediately after graduating from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and through his increasing political influence with the National Party, the oldest active political group in the South American country.
Sartori and Union Group started in 2008 with blueberry farming, expanded into other agricultural sectors with soybeans, rice, wheat, sheep, and cattle soon after, and eventually shifted the privately owned firm’s investments into energy, healthcare, mining, and real estate.
In 2019, Sartori made a run at the presidential primaries in Uruguay, where he collected over 20 percent of the National Party’s vote and finished second to Luis Lacalle Pou, who became the country’s leader in 2020.
Sartori then turned his efforts to becoming the youngest senator in the country’s history. This successful attempt put him on committees that oversee International Affairs, Environment, Development, Inclusion, and Industry and has opened speculation that he will run for the highest office again in 2024.
Louis-Dreyfus and Sartori have been close friends and business partners for some time. Both are on the board of directors at Sunderland AFC and will join Adam Bailey in similar roles at SX Global.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Kyril and Juan on this new era for WSX, who share a genuine passion and transformational vision for the championship,” said Bailey in the announcement, “Their commitment, experience, and business acumen will be crucial in driving the next chapter of WSX.”
Although there were no details shared about future races, which we’ve learned may become double headers to help fulfill agreements with the chartered teams and the FIM, the SX Global release concluded with Bailey saying, “Our vision has always been to add value to the sport of motorcycling and complement its growth, globally – we have a number of plans and initiatives already underway that we look forward to sharing in due course.”
Mubadala Capital, the asset management subsidiary of the United Arab Emirates sovereign wealth fund, has not commented publicly about its severed ties with SX Global.
The Emiratis had pledged $50 million over five years to the FIM World Supercross Championship, which would help the ten teams committed to the series, pay appearance fees and purse money for riders, and help cover logistics like travel and freight.
The series has a ten-year contract with the FIM to be the only Supercross world championship series that is recognized and sanctioned by the international governing body, as well as agreements with the tourism board in Melbourne, Australia, to be the host city for the final round through 2024 and for defending champion Ken Roczen to race until 2025.