Formula 1 Racing

Bahrain sovereign wealth fund buys out McLaren

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

In December, McLaren shareholders unanimously approved a full recapitalisation of the business ostensibly to allow for a “simplified” and “streamlined” governance process.

However, the finances of the supercar maker have long been under scrutiny.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it took out a £150million loan with the National Bank of Bahrain, sold a stake in its F1 team, arranged a leaseback deal for its renowned Technology Centre factory in Woking and cut 1000 jobs.

Alongside delays to its new hybrid supercar the Artura, there were reports that Audi – which at the time was evaluating how best to enter F1 – was considering a major investment in McLaren.

But the McLaren Group has now announced that long-term investor Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund, has taken full ownership of the share capital “following the conversion of all preference shares into ordinary shares”.

Paul Walsh, McLaren Group executive chairman, said: “We are delighted at Mumtalakat’s continued commitment to McLaren through this deal, which strengthens our ownership and governance structure.

“This will further enable us to focus on delivering our long-term business plan, including investment in new products and technologies, whilst continuing to explore potential technical partnerships with industry partners.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Mumtalakat has been partnered with McLaren since a 2007 purchase of a 30% stake from former chairman Ron Dennis and the late Mansour Ojjeh.

Following the initial sale of £185m in shares in the F1 team to American investment firm MSP Sports Capital, the McLaren Group retains a 67% stake in McLaren Racing – which also competes in IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E.

Ahead of the Australian GP, McLaren Racing confirmed that CEO Zak Brown has signed a new contract until 2030.

In the UK House of Lords on Thursday, McLaren’s Bahraini ties were raised as part of a debate concerning sports being used to improve the image of countries with poor human rights records.

As part of the debate, peer Lord Scriven labelled F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali as arrogant, having a “lack of professionalism and non-engagement” for not responding to concerns about the championship racing in states that are attempting to ‘sportswash’ their image.

Scriven added that Domenicali’s “leadership of F1 is damaging the reputation of his sport, as…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at – Formula 1 – Stories…