14 December 2014
F1: Dennis looking to regain majority at McLaren
Ron Dennis is looking to follow up his return as CEO of the McLaren F1 team by mounting a bid to become the majority shareholder of the Woking operation.
Ron Dennis is poised to reclaim the majority stake in McLaren - provided he can raise the necessary funds.
The Briton returned as CEO of the marque's F1 team after the ousting of Martin Whitmarsh at the start of 2014, but is now looking to take back a controlling share in the ownership of the operation ahead of a 2015 season which will see Fernando Alonso return to the fold as cockpit partner to Jenson Button.
Dennis currently holds a 25 per cent stake in the company, with TAG boss Mansour Ojjeh holding a similar share and Bahrain's Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund holding the remaining 50 per cent. Dennis has apparently targeted a proportion of both stakes, with share purchase agreements (SPAs) reportedly being signed by all three shareholders earlier this year.
"No transaction has taken place, but the shareholders have had discussions on how to best facilitate and enhance the future growth of the McLaren Group," a McLaren spokesman told Reuters on Friday, confirming that a deal is unlikely to be concluded before the New Year, "When and if a transaction takes place, it is not envisioned that the current shareholders will exit McLaren completely, and announcements would be made at the appropriate time."
A not insubstantial sum would be required for Dennis to acquire at least half of the respective stakes held by Mansour and Mumtalakat, and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone recently threw an additional question mark over the situation by suggesting that his fellow countryman is also working to a strict deadline to raise the necessary funds.
The delay in announcing Alonso's partner for next season was rumoured to have been held up, in part, by Dennis' hunt for cash, with Button only confirmed as Alonso's team-mate on Thursday, nearly two weeks after McLaren's intended date for announcement. According to reports, Dennis was hoping to attract funds from Denmark, on the back of Kevin Magnussen's candidacy for the second seat, to help boost his resources, although it is not clear that this would have been a deciding factor in completing the line-up.
Magnussen, who is backed by the Danish-owned Jack & Jones fashion brand, will remain at McLaren in a test and development role next season, as the Woking team returns with Honda power. McLaren was also supported by the asos.com fashion retailer, a sister to Jack & Jones, last season, but is hoping to attract Spanish sponsorship on Alonso's return for 2015.
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