04/10/2008 12:00AM

Dubai company to buy Fasig-Tipton


Synergy Investments Ltd., a company associated with Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has reached an agreement to purchase Fasig-Tipton Company, the second-largest horse auction house in the U.S., Fasig-Tipton announced on Thursday.

According to a release, Synergy is owned by Abdullah al Habbai of Dubai. The release said that John Ferguson, a representative of Sheikh Mohammed, approached Fasig-Tipton about acquiring the company prior to the agreement being reached.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Fasig-Tipton, which operates offices in Kentucky, Florida, New York, Maryland, and Texas, conducts a number of yearling, 2-year-old, horses-in-training, and broodmare sales throughout the year, and it also conducts auctions for stallion shares and nominations. The company trails only Keeneland among U.S. auction houses for sales by gross proceeds.

According to the release, controlling interest in Fasig-Tipton is currently held by John Hettinger. The existing staff and management of the company will be retained, according to Ferguson.

"Synergy looks forward to building on the legacy which the Hettinger family's support has enabled Fasig-Tipton to achieve," Ferguson said in the release.

Sheikh Mohammed has been one of the most high-profile purchasers of American racing and breeding stock for two decades.

D. G. Van Clief, the chairman of Fasig-Tipton, said in the release that the agreement includes an "understanding that Fasig-Tipton will be operated in a manner consistent with the principles of integrity, customer service, and industry service, which has been so critical to our success since controlling interest was obtained by the Hettinger family in 1991."