Formula E takes minority stake in Agag's Extreme E


FILE PHOTO: Alejandro Agag, Formula E CEO, speaks during an interview with Reuters ahead of round four of the Formula E championship in Buenos Aires January 8, 2015. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula E has become a minority shareholder in Extreme E, the electric off-road series due to start next year with six-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton a team owner, the two sides announced on Tuesday.

No financial details were provided for what was described as a strategic investment.

Formula E, a city-based all-electric single-seater championship, counts Liberty Global and Discovery Communications as major shareholders.

The series were both founded by Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag, who is chairman of Formula E and chief executive of Extreme E.

Formula E chief executive Jamie Reigle will have a seat on the Extreme E board but the businesses will be independent of each other.

Agag, who also owns a stake in Formula E, told Reuters that he would be the majority shareholder in Extreme E.

"What it gives is clearly the backing of Formula E to Extreme E and also the backing of the Formula E shareholders, so Liberty Global and Discovery have backed this investment," said the Spaniard.

"To have the backing of those two companies for Extreme E gives a very strong financial peace of mind."

Reigle said there was a perception already that the two series had common equity, due to Agag's involvement in both, and the move provided clarity.

There was also an 'industrial logic' to accelerate the use of electric vehicles.

"We're an electric motorsport, we're not a venture capital fund," he said. "So we're not making this investment because we're responding to shareholders. It's really a strategic alliance."

Extreme E aims to highlight climate change and promote sustainability with races in some of the world's most remote and harsh environments that are already suffering from global warming and pollution.

Nico Rosberg, the 2016 Formula One champion, also has a team while other entries include U.S.-based Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)

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