British chemicals group Ineos plans to become a major sponsor of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, adding to its growing portfolio of sports interests.
According to today’s Financial Times newspaper, Ineos is preparing a £20m (€23.4m/$26.2m)-per-year bid for branding and IP rights to the team which features six-time championship winner Lewis Hamilton as its lead driver.
The deal is likely to be announced within weeks and would add another global property to the brand’s sponsorship and ownership interests in sport.
Under the control of British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos is the owner and title sponsor of the UCI WorldTour team, formerly known as Team Sky, and now called Team Ineos. As Team Sky, the road cycling team won five Tour de France titles. Team Ineos won the 2018 Tour de France with Geraint Thomas and the 2019 Tour de France with Egan Bernal.
The company is also backing Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup sailing team, after the expiration of the team’s title sponsorship deal with Land Rover. The team is called Ineos Team UK and will also compete in the fledgling sailing series SailGP, which launches this February.
In football, Ineos acquired French Ligue 1 club OGC Nice for €100m ($110m) last year, where it holds the team’s front-of-shirt rights. In 2017, it acquired Switzerland’s Lausanne Sports FC, where it sponsors the team’s training kit.
Last year, Ineos sponsored the world’s first sub-two-hour marathon by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge. Ineos branded the front of Kipchoge’s vest and those of the support runners, and was visible throughout the run with roadside signage and at the start and finish gates.
According to an interview in The Times newspaper last year, Ratcliffe said the sporting investments had raised the profile of Ineos and facilitated business deals in key territories, such as China and the Middle East.