McLaren has been hit particularly hard by the slowdown effects of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, and has resorted to selling its famous McLaren Technology Center located in Woking, United Kingdom, as it looks to recover.
On the market since last fall, the site now has a new owner. Announced on Tuesday, the new owner is Global Net Lease (GNL), a real estate investment trust that specializes in sale-and-leaseback deals to single tenants like the deal struck with McLaren.
GNL is paying McLaren 170 million British pounds (approximately $237 million) for the site, and is signed on to lease it to the British sports car marque and race team for the next 20 years. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
The site, which spans 840,000 square feet and began construction in 1998, includes McLaren’s headquarters, car plant and wind tunnel. McLaren is thought to have been seeking 200 million British pounds from the sale.
McLaren’s headquarters in Woking, United Kingdom
Why the sale? Prior to the onset of the pandemic, McLaren had amassed significant loans to expand its business as well as buy out former shareholder Ron Dennis. Dennis’ shares alone cost McLaren $343 million.
When the pandemic hit, the loss of revenues meant McLaren struggled to pay creditors. Shareholders injected an additional 300 million British pounds of equity last March, and 25% of staff were cut the following May. McLaren then received a rescue loan of 150 million British pounds in June from majority owner Bahrain.
McLaren also sold a third of its Formula One team last December to raise cash.
The good news is that McLaren looks to be on the rebound. Its F1 team is currently third in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship and the automotive side has just introduced a new generation of hybrid supercars in the form of the Artura.