NOVEMBER 24, 2000
Gauloises looking to buy...
There are four companies which are believed to have been targeted by Altadis for possible takeover. These are believed to include Austria Tabak, Britain's Gallaher and Germany's Reemtsma. This could become significant as Gallaher is the owner of the Benson & Hedges brand and Reemtsma provides the funding for McLaren, from its West tobacco subsidiary. A takeover of either company by Altadis could have a dramatic effect on those sponsorships.
Although there are plans in various countries to stop tobacco sponsorship, the plans for a European ban have been blocked although the FIA has said that it will introduce a ban of its own in motor racing if the planned World Health Organisation treaty goes ahead. This may take years and so the tobacco companies are still looking at ways to exploit the existing rules - and Formula 1 provides them with a very good showcase.