McLaren sells stake in Formula One team

McLaren Group said Sunday it has sold a stake in McLaren Racing, its division responsible for the McLaren Formula One team and recent IndyCar efforts.

The company reached a deal with a consortium of investors led by United States-based sports investment company MSP Sports Capital. Under the deal, MSP and its partners will invest a total of 185 million British pounds (approximately $247.8 million) into McLaren Racing, acquiring an initial 15% stake that will increase to a maximum 33% stake by the end of 2022.

The deal values McLaren Racing at approximately 560 million British pounds. It also sees Jahm Najafi, a partner of MSP, become vice chairman of McLaren Racing together with current vice chairman Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa.

“This new investment bolsters our plan to return McLaren to contention for race wins and championships in Formula One and IndyCar, and will strengthen our positive momentum as we continue to focus relentlessly on our mission to return to the top of the podium,” Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, said in a statement.

McLaren Group was hit particularly hard by the slowdown caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, and McLaren Racing, like all F1 competitors, lost substantial revenue due to the delayed start of the 2020 season. Another iconic team, Williams, was sold to U.S.-based investment company Dorilton Capital in August.

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The good news is that it looks like McLaren Group has put the worst behind it. The company, which also includes a technology division and the McLaren supercar business, in May made the tough decision to shed 25% of its workforce as part of a restructuring to deal with not only the pandemic but also new budget caps to be introduced in F1. The budget cap will start at $145 million in 2021 and drop to $135 million in ensuing years. And the company in September said it was looking to sell its headquarters in Woking, United Kingdom, and lease it back to raise further funds.

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