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IRB Sold; Expected to Broaden Role

Newmarket Investments has purchased the International Racing Bureau.

The International Racing Bureau, which is headquartered in Newmarket, England, and has worked for many years in helping coordinate and manage overseas runners at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, has a new owner. The company, founded in 1968, is now part of Newmarket Investments, a publicly quoted company on the AIM stockmarket in London after being purchased for £850,000.

Mark O’Connor and Nick Clark owned most of the IRB shares and are no longer actively involved, but managing director Alastair Donald, the staff, and agents remain in place. The IRB has been involved in the growth and development of international racing, generating long-term relationships with the Racing Post, Arlington Park, Breeders’ Cup, Japan Racing Association, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Singapore Turf Club, Ascot Racecourse, and Dubai Racing Club.

Donald, 57, became a director of the Newmarket Investments board March 18, and in addition to running the IRB will undertake business development, in particular with the enlarged group’s international activities.

The IRB reported small losses in 2007 and 2006 of £7,911 and £11,319 on revenue of £837,107 and £849,383, respectively.

Newmarket Investments, which has lost money in recent years, has undergone changes in its directors and chairman this year and believes the IRB is capable of significant growth that may be achieved through the development of supplementary revenue, specifically in the areas of sponsorship and media rights. It also believes the IRB is positioned to grow its customer base.

The new board wants the IRB to play a leading role in the introduction and development of horse racing in emerging markets, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Far East.

Newmarket Investments announced details in February of a placing and open offer of 131,500,000 new ordinary shares at one penny per share to raise £1,315,000 (about £775,000 net of expenses) in relation to acquiring the entire issued share capital of the IRB for an aggregate consideration of £850,000 through the issue of 42,500,000 consideration shares (representing about 17.5% of the enlarged share capital) and £425,000 in cash.