NOVEMBER 8, 1999
Dennis denies FOH bid
MCLAREN boss Ron Dennis has finally denied suggestions that he is trying to buy out Formula 1 boss Bernie╩Ecclestone. Dennis says he is not interested in the job of running Formula 1. He says that he is aiming to concentrate on building up the TAG McLaren empire.
This is strange. When it was announced last summer that DaimlerChrysler would acquire a 40% shareholding in the company, there were rumors that it was the first phase of a deal which eventually result in the German car giant taking full control of TAG McLaren. The timetable for the takeover remains a mystery but it is expected to be completed by the time McLaren produces the first Mercedes-Benz SLR supercar in 2003.
It also fails to fit in with a variety of different sources which all indicate that Dennis is - or at least was - aiming to buy control of the Formula One Holdings empire. It may be that Dennis feels that he can now deny an interest in the company having been outbid by Morgan Grenfell Private Equity Ltd., which announced its intention to acquire 50% of FOH last week.
Dennis does not usually tell direct lies - although what he says has to be analyzed very closely as it can sometimes give the wrong impression.
It remains to be seen whether the ambitious Dennis will be content with his current situation... or whether there are more complicated moves afoot which will end up with him in charge of FOH. MGPE is, after all, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, the biggest shareholder in DaimlerChrysler AG with 12% of the shares. Deutsche Bank's chairman Hilmar╩Kopper is also the chairman of the DaimlerChrysler Supervisory Board - which means that ultimately he is the boss of DaimlerChrysler. German newspapers are already reporting that the new chairman of FOH will be ex-Mercedes-Benz boss Helmut Werner. He is 62 years old and, by the summer of 2003, will have reached retirement age.
All this is probably just a coincidence.
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