FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Pre Season Testing – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – February 28, 2020 McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during testing REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo
June 18, 2020
LONDON (Reuters) – McLaren are considering selling a minority stake in their once-dominant Formula One team to raise funds to help the company weather the COVID-19 crisis, Sky News reported on Wednesday.
It said the proposal was at a ‘conceptual stage’ alongside other options, including raising capital from existing bondholders.
There was no immediate comment from McLaren.
Bahrain’s Mumtalakat holding company is the majority shareholder in McLaren Group, with a 56% stake, followed by the TAG Group led by Saudi-born businessman Mansour Ojjeh with 14%.
Canadian businessman Michael Latifi acquired a stake of around 10% in 2018.
McLaren finished fourth overall last season with Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who is joining Ferrari next year, and Britain’s Lando Norris.
The Woking-based outfit, winners of eight constructors’ championships, last won a grand prix in 2012 and a title, with now six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, in 2008.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the sportscar maker hard, with sales plunging during the factory shutdown. The company announced 1,200 redundancies in May under a group-wide restructuring.
The group — which is made up of the Automotive, Racing and Applied divisions — saw its pre-tax loss balloon to 133 million pounds ($166.88 million) in the first quarter of 2020 from a previous 18 million.
McLaren said then that it was “looking at a number of potential financing alternatives, secured and unsecured, of up to 275 million pounds equivalent to strengthen its liquidity position.”
Formula One is introducing a $145 million annual budget cap next year, falling subsequently to $135 million, which should help teams such as McLaren compete on a sustainable basis.
Old rivals Williams, also once-dominant but now struggling financially, are also considering a range of options including the sale of their team.
The delayed season is due to start in Austria on July 5 without spectators.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)