Red Bull’s highly anticipated deal to buy a 51 percent stake in Bora-Hansgrohe has made it through the predetermined window for anti-trust authorities to review the arrangement, paving the way for the purchase to move forward.
Anti-trust authorities in Austria announced on Monday that no formal requests to review the deal were received within the deadline. As Bora-Hansgrohe manager Ralph Denk put it in a statement from the team, “With today’s decision, we have cleared an important hurdle.”
“The foundations of our partnership with Red Bull are now officially in place,” Denk said. “This is the green light we’ve been waiting for to go ahead with the formalities and many specific parts of the collaboration.”
Exactly what Red Bull’s increased investment in the pro peloton will look like remains to be seen. The news of the planned purchase first emerged at the beginning of January, but with the looming prospect of anti-trust review, there was little comment on specifics over the ensuing weeks from either the energy drink company or the cycling team. That still remains the case even after the news that the deal made it through the review period unchallenged.
“We will present the further details of our partnership in the course of the season,” Denk said in the team’s statement, with no clearer timeline given of when that might happen.
In other words, we can only continue to speculate for now as to how the increased involvement from one of the most recognizable brands in the sports landscape will impact the WorldTour. For now, the obvious questions center on the scale of any increase in Bora-Hansgrohe’s budget with the influx of Red Bull money, as well as the ways in which the deal could interact with partnerships that Red Bull already has with athletes outside of the Bora structure.
Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) are just two of many pro cyclists who fall into that camp, and it was not long after the news of Red Bull’s acquisition broke that rumors began to emerge pointing to Bora’s interest in signing one or both.
Only time will tell how those storylines develop, but Monday’s announcement from Austrian authorities is a significant step towards whatever is next.
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