SEPTEMBER 1, 2007
Spyker deal is done
Our spies in Holland tell us that a deal has been done for the Mol family and India's Vijay Mallya to take control of the Spyker F1 team. This will mean that the name Spyker will disappear from Grand Prix racing after just 12 months and that the team will take on a new identity, probably linked to Mallya's Kingfisher brand, which is currently used to sell beer and for an airline.
It is not impossible that the team will become known as Kingfisher F1.
Backing for the operation may also come from some of Mallya's other brands, although this may not be possible because of the team's Arab sponsors, who may frown on the idea of strong alcohol.
Michiel Mol will not doubt return to head the team and it is anticipated that the remaining staff will be unchanged. The deal will be announced on the Amsterdam stock exchange at some point (as it legally has to be) so the full details will be known. We anticipate that this will be in the region of $100m. Some of this will probably be in written-off debt (Mol's share) and the rest will be in cash.
A deal was necessary because Spyker Cars NV owed $15m to the team's former owner Midland and this was due to be paid on September 15. A further $23m is outstanding. The troubled Dutch car company did not have the money to pay the debt and was looking for a backer to fund both the car business and the F1 team. It obviously failed to achieve this elevated goal and has settled for a deal to offload the F1 team and use the money to pay the debt and refinance the automobile business.