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McLaren Sell “Significant Minority” Stake In Formula 1 While Top Brand CEO Resigns


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US-based investment group has bought a “significant minority” stake in the Formula One (F1) operation from McLaren.

Intended to solidify the team’s future long-term, MSP Sports Capital have acquired a 15% stake that will increase to 33% by the end of 2022.

The deal, valuing the team at $988 million, has seen $326 million be invested into McLaren Racing (F1 and IndyCar).

McLaren Racing CEO, Zak Brown, said: “This investment represents a key moment in the progress of McLaren Racing.”

“MSP Sports Capital is first and foremost a sports investor.

“They know the market and their team has considerable experience and proven success in global sports properties.

“They are a partner as much as a shareholder, with the ability to leverage their network and knowledge for the long-term benefit of McLaren Racing.

“This new investment bolsters our plan to return McLaren to contention for race wins and championships in Formula 1 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,” Brown said.

McLaren Group executive chairman, Paul Walsh, said: “Bringing partner capital and expertise into McLaren Racing will support the team’s return to the front of the grid and further strengthen our financial position.”

“The fact that we have attracted a strategic investor of MSP Sports Capital’s calibre is testament to the unique history and exciting prospects of McLaren Racing.

“The business remains part of the McLaren Group and we look forward to working with MSP Sports Capital to deliver the next chapter of growth and success,” he said.

MSP Sports Capital has previously worked with the MLB, ESPN, and NBA.

McLaren had recently been enquiring into selling a partial stake in their racing team in order to secure funds; they agreed to a loan arrangement with the National Bank of Bahrain earlier in 2020.

Elsewhere in F1, Ferrari CEO, Louis Camilleri, has resigned suddenly for “personal reasons”.

Camilleri was the face of Ferrari’s senior leadership, speaking about their F1 programme regularly; and in support of Binotto, who maintained Camilleri’s support in spite of Ferrari’s illegality accusations in late 2019.

Camilleri, joined by Elkann and Binotto, took part in a new executive structure with the intent of remodelling Ferrari’s F1 operation.

Financially backing Binotto by authorising the building of a new simulator; he also supported Binotto’s idea to promote from within, shifting the team away from the blame culture of the previous year.

When Ferrari’s engine was under scrutiny, Camilleri denied cheating allegations and decided not to allow Ferrari to fire staff after a weak start to the season.

“Ferrari has been a part of my life and serving as its chief executive has been a great privilege,” Camilleri said.

“My admiration for the extraordinary men and women of Maranello and for the passion and dedication they apply to everything they do, knows no bounds.

“I’m proud of the company’s numerous achievements since 2018 and know that Ferrari’s best years are still to come,” he said.

Until a new CEO is appointed, Elkann will act as Ferrari’s CEO.

“I would like to express our most sincere thanks to Louis for his unstinting dedication as our chief executive officer since 2018 and a member of our board of directors since 2015,” Elkann said.

“His passion for Ferrari has been limitless and under his leadership the company has further affirmed its position as one of the world’s greatest companies, capitalising on its truly unique heritage and the unerring quest for excellence.

“We wish him and his family a long and happy retirement,” he said.

Also resigning from his role as chairman of Phillip Morris International, cigarette company and Ferrari’s long-time sponsor; Camilleri had given no indication that he would want to leave his role any time soon.

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