Chinese private equity firm Yunfeng Capital has invested in Enova Holdings, Formula E’s regional partner in Greater China, in a deal that could spur the electric car-racing series’ growth in the region.
The agreement was announced today (Monday) in the wake of Formula E’s 2017-18 season-opening events in Hong Kong at the weekend. Established in 2010 by Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and David Yu, founder of Target Media, Yunfeng’s deal marks the latest Chinese investment in Formula E. Yunfeng will become a major shareholder of Enova.
In February, CMC Capital Partners, a leading Chinese investor in the sports and entertainment sectors, announced an investment in Formula E Holdings Limited (FEH), the official promoter of Formula E. CMC's investment in Formula E followed that of Chinese private equity firm Yao Capital in January.
Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Formula E, said: “I’m delighted to see this strategic investment from Jack Ma and David Yu in one of the most important regions for Formula E. Greater China has been fundamental in the growth of the series and it remains fundamental for the growth of electric vehicles too.
“As an EV manufacturer, if you can crack China, you can crack anywhere. With four races in the region since Formula E's inaugural year in 2014 – two in Beijing and two in Hong Kong – I'm looking forward to seeing electric street racing continue to grow here.”
As well as being Formula E’s regional partner in Greater China, Enova is a leading web-based consumer lending company, providing financial solutions to businesses and individuals.
Yin Xiao Ming, president of Enova Holdings, said: “Enova has been working with Formula E since the very beginning, having hosted the first-ever race in Beijing and again in Hong Kong. The purpose of the investment is to help Formula E on its journey to expand in this region and worldwide – especially in the realm of digital to appeal to a younger audience.”
In other news, it has emerged that the International Automobile Federation (FIA), motorsport’s global governing body, has an option on a 20-per-cent stake in Formula E. UK newspaper The Telegraph, citing FIA documents, said that the share option was offered as part of talks that led to Formula E’s launch in 2014.
The FIA granted Hong Kong-based FEH a licence to operate the series until 2038. The Telegraph said it was previously thought the FIA’s involvement was restricted to receiving 20 per cent of the net capital gains of FEH shareholders when they sell their stakes.
The FIA said in a statement: “This portfolio exists to recompense the federation for its activities in these championships and does not afford any executive power within the promoter organisations.”