JANUARY 4, 2002
Mateschitz sells his Sauber shares?
ACCORDING to a report on the Internet, Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has sold his shares in Red Bull Sauber Holding AG, the parent company of the Swiss F1 team. It is not clear who the energy drinks magnate has found to buy the shares but in the current economic climate it is unlikely that he will have made much money on the deal - if it is confirmed.
There have been rumors for some time that Credit Suisse may be the buyer but it is more likely that Petronas would be the one making the move. Malaysia still has grand ambitions in F1 and buying into a team is a good idea. Peter Sauber, retains the majority of the voting shares in Red Bull Sauber Holding AG so if there is a buyer they are unlikely to get much of a voice in the decision-making process at Sauber. However Petronas might be interested in such a deal to strengthen its involvement in Sauber Petronas Engineering AG, a Red Bull Sauber Holding AG subsidiary in which Petronas has a 40% interest. The current shareholding structure in Red Bull Sauber Holding AG is 51% Red Bull and 49% Peter Sauber. Sauber runs the business but if Petronas owned the extra shares it would, in effect, take control of Sauber Petronas Engineering. This company builds road car engines for Proton and recently completed a motorcycle engine for a new Petronas motorcycle team. The long term aim remains for Sauber Petronas Engineering to build its own F1 engines.
The other possibility is that the shares have been sold to someone wanting to do business with the Malaysians.
Peter Sauber is 60 next year and it may be that someone is buying into the company so as to be in a good position to take over the business as and when Sauber decides to step back. One possibility that should not be overlooked is that Craig Pollock has spotted an opportunity for the future.
Whatever the case, the announcement is expected to be made at the Sauber launch in Zurich later this month.
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