Nature’s Bakery

Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery reach settlement that includes sponsorship

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Stewart-Haas Racing announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with Nature’s Bakery that will include the company serving as a sponsor for four Cup races split between Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick.

Those four races will be announced at a later date.

As part of the agreement, all lawsuits between Stewart-Haas Racing and Nature’s Bakery have been dropped.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to have paid $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe in sponsoring Patrick’s team.

“It’s gratifying to see a difficult situation get resolved in a professional manner that suits all parties,” said Brett Frood, president, Stewart-Haas Racing. “Together, we worked diligently to find an equitable solution to our collective challenges.”

“I am a longtime motorsports fan and, particularly, a fan of NASCAR,” said Dave Marson, founder of Nature’s Bakery. “Our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing began with direct, open conversations and that foundation allowed us to reach this agreement.”

Other parts of the agreement were not revealed.

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Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery reach tentative settlement

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Counsel for Stewart-Haas Racing reported to North Carolina Superior Court on Wednesday that it has executed settlement documents with Nature’s Bakery.

A status report was pushed back 21 days to June 23 in the event the that the parties have not filed a stipulation of dismissal by that date.

No details of the settlement documents were detailed to the court.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to have paid $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe in sponsoring Patrick’s team.

Click here to read court document

Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery close to settlement

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Stewart-Haas Racing stated in a court filing Tuesday that it is close to reaching a settlement with Nature’s Bakery, the company that formerly sponsored Danica Patrick‘s team.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to pay $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe.

A mediator heard both sides in April.

Stewart-Haas Racing made a request Tuesday in North Carolina Superior Court to postpone a case management conference scheduled for Wednesday. Stewart-Haas Racing was ordered to file a status report no later than June 2.

Click here to read the court document

 

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Nature’s Bakery, Stewart-Haas Racing to go before mediator

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Nature’s Bakery and Stewart-Haas Racing will have a mediator hear their issues Wednesday, court documents show.

If that session is unsuccessful, both sides agree to a second mediation session that will occur 30 days after all summary judgment motions and briefs are filed.

The requests were part of a joint case management report filed Friday.

Also in the filing, Nature’s Bakery has requested that a North Carolina Superior Court judge set the trial date for after the 2018 season, stating in court documents Friday that some evidence will not be available until then.

Stewart-Haas Racing has requested that a trial take place as early as later this summer.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit Feb. 3 against Nature’s Bakery. The amount comes from $15.2 million Nature’s Bakery was to have paid to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team in 2017 and ’18, along with other costs. Nature’s Bakery sponsored Patrick in 2016.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim that it did not see the return it was led to believe as Patrick’s sponsor. Nature’s Bakery terminated its three-year agreement with the team in January.

In its summary of the issues, Stewart-Haas Racing stated: “Defendants repeatedly renegotiated the timing of payments because, despite promises to the contrary, they apparently could not afford to make the payments. After being bought (in part) by a private equity group, Defendants seemingly lost interest in the sponsorship. Immediately following the end of the 2016 race season, Defendants concocted a long list of fictitious reasons to try to justify terminating the contract, and then terminated the contract with two years and over $30 million remaining owed to SHR.”

In its summary, Nature’s Bakery stated: “Nature’s Bakery would be one of the smallest, if not the smallest, lead sponsor in NASCAR history. In exchange, SHR and Ms. Patrick were to exclusively endorse Nature’s Bakery products and provide other services, including broad social media outreach to help promote the brand. Barely six months into the relationship, SHR and Patrick could not or would not fulfill their obligations under the Agreement. Ms. Patrick was endorsing confusingly similar brands and products, and SHR was unable to obtain her cooperation. … At trial, Nature’s Bakery will seek, inter alia, to void the Agreement based on SHR’s misrepresentations and for declaratory relief that it owes no further money to SHR based on SHR’s own breaches and failures to mitigate.’’

Stewart-Haas previously stated that Patrick endorsed Six Star Pro Nutrition’s protein powder and that it was not a competing product.

Also in the court filing, Nature’s Bakery is contemplating filing a motion to amend its counterclaims to “assert additional allegations  or counterclaims, and/or to add additional parties. Because the contemplated amendments depend on discovery not yet obtained from SHR and third parties, including Ms. Patrick, Nature’s Bakery respectfully requests that it be permitted the opportunity to amend at any time within three months of the entry of the Case Management Order.’’

Stewart-Haas Racing stated it would like Nature’s Bakery to file any motions within 30 days of the Case Management Order.

Read Joint Case Management Report

Stewart-Haas Racing responds to Nature’s Bakery claim about not seeing a bigger return in sponsoring Danica Patrick

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What is the value a sponsor can receive in its affiliation with a NASCAR driver and team?

Stewart-Haas Racing states in court documents filed this week that Nature’s Bakery received about $11.5 million in media exposure as Danica Patrick’s sponsor in 2016.

Stewart-Haas Racing cited those figures in response to Nature’s Bakery claim that it did not see the return it was led to believe it would experience as Patrick’s sponsor. Nature’s Bakery terminated its three-year sponsorship agreement with the team in January even though two years remained on the deal.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit Feb. 3 against Nature’s Bakery. The amount comes from $15.2 million Nature’s Bakery was to have paid to sponsor Patrick in 2017 and 2018, along with other costs. Nature’s Bakery sponsored Patrick only in 2016.

In its response, Nature’s Bakery stated in court documents Feb. 24 that “SHR’s promises were illusory and misleading. There was no massive increase in sales. … As a result, the Sponsorship came nowhere close to fulfilling its promises, nor justifying the more than $17 million Nature’s Bakery paid SHR in 2016.’’

In response to those claims, Stewart-Haas Racing stated in court documents this week that:

  • The MVP Index of 2016 driver and sponsor rankings stated that Patrick had a higher sponsor integration into her social media platforms than Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Nationwide, Brad Keselowski and Miller Lite, Kasey Kahne and Farmers Insurance, Kevin Harvick and Jimmy John’s and Chase Elliott and NAPA.
  • From Jan. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2016, Patrick and Nature’s Bakery generated the fifth most impressions of any NASCAR brand.
  • Patrick appeared in Coca-Cola and Mobil 1 TV commercials in her Nature’s Bakery firesuit. She also was in national campaigns for Goodyear, Chevrolet in her Nature’s Bakery firesuit.
  • According to TVEyes, television news exposures generated about $4.5 million in media exposure value.
  • According to the Meltwater clipping service, the estimated internet media exposures generated for Nature’s Bakery was almost $7 million.

Read Stewart-Haas Racing’s court filing detailing media exposure for Nature’s Bakery

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