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Walkinshaw buys back TWR shares

TOM WALKINSHAW is in the process of regaining complete control of his Tom Walkinshaw Racing Group, buying back the 49% of the company which has been controlled since September 1992 by Benetton family-owned companies 21 Investimenti and Benetton NV. The deal means that Flavio Briatore and Alessandro Benetton will relinquish their seats on the TWR board.

The settlement will almost certainly mean that Walkinshaw returns his 30% shareholding in Benetton Formula, of which he has been the minority shareholder since 1991, when he agreed to mastermind Benetton's technical evolution for Flavio Briatore. Tom's involvement led to Michael Schumacher's World Championship victories in 1994 and 1995.

The negotiations have been going on for almost a year and there is little doubt that Walkinshaw will have had to pay more than the $100m which Benetton pumped into TWR to keep the business afloat in 1992.

The TWR empire has since bounced back strongly thanks largely to a vast deal with Volvo, which has since developed into Auto Nova AB, a joint venture to build sportier cars to improve the staid image of the Swedish carmaker.

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