Red Bull and Bora-Hansgrohe partnership given 'green light to go ahead'

The 'joint venture' between the energy drinks company and the German cycling team has been allowed by Austrian authorities

Red Bull Bora-Hansgrohe
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Red Bull's acquisition of a controlling stake in the company that owns Bora-Hansgrohe has been allowed by Austrian authorities, it has been announced.

The idea of the 'joint venture' emerged earlier in January, when an an announcement on Austria's Federal Competition Authority (FCA) made the idea of the merger public. It has now been approved, "given the green light to go ahead", according to Bora's manager, Ralph Denk, on Monday.

The idea floated was an "indirect acquisition of a controlling interests of 51% in RD pro cycling GmbH & Co KG and RD Beteiligungs GmbH (owner of the professional road cycling team BORA-hansgrohe), both Germany, by Red Bull GmbH, Austria". RD Pro Cycling GmbH & Co. KG is the company behind the cycling team, owned by Denk. The deadline for objections passed on Friday.

In a statement on Monday, Denk said: "With today's decision, we have cleared an important hurdle. The foundations of our partnership with Red Bull are now officially in place. This is the green light we've been waiting for to go ahead with the formalities and many specific parts of the collaboration."

"Everyone in cycling knows how important the basics and preparation are for success. So, we are now taking this step with the necessary consideration and resolution. We will present the further details of our partnership in the course of the season."

The two entities already have links, with the Austrian energy drinks brand sponsoring the team's junior scouting program, Red Bull Junior Brothers, last year, and with a Bora rider - Anton Palzer - being individually sponsored by the brand.

>>> More money, more viewers for the sport: What Red Bull’s Bora-Hansgrohe acquisition could mean

When the news first broke, a Bora spokesperson said: "Red Bull is planning to expand its involvement in road cycling and is aiming for a partnership with Bora-Hansgrohe. 

"By becoming a partner in team manager Ralph Denk's operating company, Red Bull strives to complement the team's portfolio of existing long-term main sponsors, who will remain on a long-term basis. The planned joint venture has been notified to the relevant antitrust authority."

The move is not Red Bull's first in cycling - far from it - but is their biggest in road cycling to date. Red Bull individually sponsor Anton Palzer, Zoe Backstëdt and Visma-Lease A Bike's Wout van Aert, meaning they have special permission to wear differently branded helmets. 

Tom Pidcock is also a Red Bull athlete, but this is limited to his activities in cyclo-cross and mountain biking. The brand has a long history of mountain bike sponsorship, being the title sponsor of the Red Bull Rampage, and also has deals with riders like Evie Richards.

Red Bull is a familiar name in other sports, behind the most successful Formula One team of the moment, the car driven by multiple world champion Max Verstappen, but also a second team, Scuderia AlphaTauri. They also sponsor a MotoGP team.

In football, they own Red Bull Salzburg, Austria's most successful football club of the 21st century, the New York Red Bulls, and are behind RB Leipzig, the current holders of the DFB-Pokal, the German cup.

The brand is known for its sponsorship of extreme sports as well, whether that is cliff diving, flying, and skateboarding. 

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