Hamilton to secure $1bn future

F1 superstar to sign long-term sponsorship deals
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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One sensation, is close to signing a clutch of endorsement deals that will put him on track to become the world's first $1bn sportsman.

It is believed that Hamilton has held discussions with his financial advisers about a range of options to maximise his earning potential, including listing himself on the London stock market.

The innovative move could see the racing driver list a minority stake in a company in which he would be the main asset and remain the major shareholder. Several US sports stars are considering similar proposals, including Derek Jeter, the star batsman at the New York Yankees baseball team.

Hamilton's multimillion pound salary from McLaren, his F1 team, is set to be dwarfed by the sums earned from endorsing and promoting products. If he chose to pursue a listing on the AIM market in London, he could, for example, sell a 10 per cent stake in Lewis Hamilton plc, for $100m. Investors in the company would be paid a dividend equivalent to 10 per cent of Hamilton's total future earnings. The company would be structured like any other listed vehicle with a board of executive and non-executive directors.

By pursuing a listing, the driver would be able to safeguard his financial future at the start of his career by pocketing a large lump sum. The plan could be attractive to Hamilton because it would reduce the financial downside of any injury that might prematurely end his racing.

Hamilton's career and earning potential have been carefully managed by his father, Anthony Hamilton, who, when Lewis was a child, took extra jobs to pay for his son's early development as a karting driver. It is understood that the Lewis camp is holding talks that could lead to up to six long-term endorsement deals being signed in the next few months.

Earlier this month, Hamilton announced he was leaving the UK to live in Switzerland, where he could live anonymously and not be mobbed in the street. It is believed that he will also save up to $40m in tax per year from the move.

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