CART buy-out in doubt

CART, the promoter of the Champ Car World Series, has announced that its planned merger with Open Wheel Racing Series is unlikely to happen, putting into doubt the future of the championship

CART buy-out in doubt

Shareholders in CART are due to vote on the merger at a meeting on December 19, but in a statement the sanctioning body says that it has been informed by OWRS that it "believes that a number of conditions of the proposed merger between the parties will not be satisfied" by the time of the vote.

One of the major sticking points of the deal appears to surround the number of cars that will run in the series next season. CART "expects that there will be a net decrease" in the number of teams for 2004, which will almost certainly mean that there will be less than 18 cars on the grid. This would be classed as a "material adverse effect," which violates one of the conditions of the OWRS bid.

If the merger does not go ahead, it seems unlikely that CART will survive. In its last financial report, the company stated that it would likely be forced to cease operations if the merger did not go through. CART says that it is now evaluating alternatives to the buy-out, "including the possibility of ceasing operations, winding up the Company's affairs and liquidating its remaining assets."

OWRS has made a "preliminary proposal contemplating an alternative transaction," which could allow the series to continue. Under this offer CART would declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with OWRS purchasing certain of the company's assets, while also assuming certain liabilities. CART says that it is reviewing this offer, but cannot guarantee that it will accept the deal.

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CART pushed towards Chapter 11 bankruptcy
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