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Sale of Nashville Superspeedway is delayed for fifth time

The main grandstand at Nashville Superspeedway Picture: Chuck Schultz
 Neil Tipton
 Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The saga surrounding the sale of Nashville Superspeedway looks set to continue as the deadline for completion has been pushed back to March 27, according to a recent filing.

The Dover Motorsports Inc.-owned facility has been effectively mothballed, save for occasional race team testing, since 2012 when it ceased holding NASCAR-affiliated events. In May last year, DMI announced the circuit's sale to technology group NeXovation Inc., whose CEO Robert Sexton lives nearby and whose headquarters are based in Nashville. NeXovation – which also was one of the bidders for Germany's Nürburgring – announced plans to reopen the facility for racing and host other events year round.

NeXovation was to pay $46 million for the facility: $27 million in cash to DMI and the assumption of about $18.8 million in bond obligations owed to Wilson County, incurred to pay for roads, utilities and other improvements along State Route 840 and around the speedway when it was built in 2001.

However, completion of the sale was delayed four times to allow further time for due diligence by NeXovation on the deal, although according to filings by DMI, NeXovation has already paid $1.7 million in non-refundable payments that will be applied to the purchase price. In addition, NeXovation paid DMI $200,000 as compensation for the previous deadline extensions. This money is not included within the purchase price.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, a fifth delay on the sale has been granted by DMI, in exchange for a further non-refundable payment of $200,000. This new money will again not count towards the final purchase price. The new deadline for completion of the sale is March 27, though no explanation was given for the latest delay.

"NeXovation continues to work closely with Dover Motorsports on the purchase of the Nashville Superspeedway," NeXovation Chief Executive Officer Robert Sexton said in a statement. "We look forward to bringing a world-class motor sport experience to Nashville and the Middle Tennessee communities. "

NeXovation is described as a US-based global innovation company, specialising – according to its website – in the 'creation, design, development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of patented technologies'.  The company patented Flatwire – foil-thin, ribbon-like wires that can be glued to a surface and painted over, making them virtually invisible – in the 1980s. Targeted at the auto industry, to date the product has not caught on in the marketplace, despite a 2004 licencing and manufacturing agreement with the largest wire producer in the US. The deal ended in acrimony, with Sexton suing the Atlanta-based Southwire Company, who he claimed had never marketed or sold the product, never paid him any royalties, and had subsequently fired him.

The $500 million dollar lawsuit was subsequently settled, with Sexton back in control of the rights to the Flatwire technology. It is not clear how much money, if any, formed part of the eventual settlement or whether this may be part of the funding being put towards the Nashville purchase.

In 2014, NeXovation hit the headlines when it made a bid of more than $200 million to buy the troubled Nürburgring in Germany. It eventually lost out to a German company which made a bid of less than half that amount. NeXovation subsequently filed a complaint with the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission regarding the sales process of the Nürburgring. The company maintains that its bid for the Nürburgring still stands, should the deal with preferred bidder Capricorn Group fail to go through.

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