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More on British American Racing

AS we suggested a month ago British American Tobacco subsidiaries have now raised their shareholdings in British╩American╩Racing to 80% and while paddock rumor says that this was a deal so that the team could top up its budget, it seems more likely that it is part of the process by which the team splits away from Jacques Villeneuve and his manager Craig╩Pollock.

Both men were partners in the Mount Eagle company, which previously owned 35% of the shares in the team. This has now been reduced to around 10% which would make sense as the third Mount Eagle investor Jerry Forsythe confirmed last year that he owned around 15% of the team (which would equate to about 40% of Mount Eagle's 35%). At the same time we hear that Reynard's share in BAR has been reduced from 15% to 5%.

Buying out the other partners has two values to BAT: it gives them more control of the racing team and means that they can sell it much more easily if a buyer appears, and secondly it gives the shares a notional value so that BAT can justify demanding a high price. If our sources are correct the new deal values the team at $165m.

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