Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments is in talks with Red Bull over further collaboration just days after a private bank owned by the emirate reached a sponsorship deal with one of the drink-maker's Formula One teams.
Aabar, a government-owned investment vehicle, and Red Bull, the Austrian energy drink giant, are in the preliminary stages of high-level talks, Aabar said. The potential opportunities "comprise possible joint activities between Red Bull's corporate projects and Abu Dhabi", but they did not include either of Red Bull's Formula One teams or its beverage business, Aabar said.
Two weeks ago, Falcon Private Bank reached a deal to put its logo on the cars of Red Bull's Italian Formula One team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. Falcon is a Swiss bank wholly owned by Aabar.
A Toro Rosso spokeswoman said the announcement of further talks between Aabar and Red Bull had nothing to do with the earlier sponsorship deal. Aabar executives would not reveal the precise nature of the discussions.
"Red Bull is an outstanding organisation with an unparalleled global footprint," Mohamed al Husseiny, the chief executive of Aabar, said. "Aabar is aware of various potential fields in which there could be a fruitful co-operation with Red Bull." As a significant complement to its lucrative drinks business, Red Bull has a hand in a bevy of sporting events and teams. In addition to two Formula One teams, it owns the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which held the first race of each season in Abu Dhabi between 2005 and last year.
The company is also renowned for its aggressive advertising campaigns and for its support of extreme sports including snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding.
While Aabar said its talks had nothing to do with Formula One, both Aabar and Red Bull have deep ties to the sport - Red Bull through its teams and Aabar through its part-ownership of the Mercedes GP team. Aabar is also the largest single shareholder in Daimler, the German car maker with which it co-owns the Mercedes Formula One team.
In its statement, Aabar reiterated "its firm and lasting commitment as a 40 per cent stakeholder in Formula One Racing Team Mercedes GP".