DECEMBER 6, 1999
Arrows - shares for sale
MORGAN GRENFELL PRIVATE EQUITY - which owns half of the Arrows team - says that it is looking to reduce its shareholding in the Leafield team and has asked the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank to look for a buyer. The move has come about to avoid any potential clash of interest as MGPE is both the part-owner of Arrows and will soon be a 50% shareholder in Formula One Administration. The FOA deal has to be completed by the end of this month but the company is confident that it will have the package in place in the time available.
MGPE currently owns 45% of the Arrows team. Tom Walkinshaw controls another 45% and the remaining 10% - which had been earmarked for Prince Malik ado Ibrahim - is currently not controlled by anyone.
"We have hired HSBC to go ahead and try to find an investor after the parting of ways with Prince Malik," says MGPE director Scott Lanphere. "Their job is to find a buyer for about a third of the company that would take our shareholding down from a joint-control relationship to something where we could be outvoted."
MGPE and Walkinshaw have agreed to put in place a completely new professional marketing structure and financial management for the team which will leave the team to be run by people who understand the job but will also improve the team's ability to raise money and thus move it forwards.
MGPE will not say how much the share would cost but it is believed that the asking price is around $30m. This could make it an attractive investment for a number of Formula 1 people with money to spend, notably Fritz Kaiser who recently sold his 24.5% share in Sauber and is looking to invest in another team. Kaiser is a marketing man who worked wonders with the Swiss team and he might be the perfect partner for Walkinshaw.
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