MARCH 2, 2002
The liquidator speaks
Cosme Rogeau, the official Liquidator appointed by the Versailles Court of Commerce, has given details of the deal to sell the team to a British company called Phoenix Finance Ltd., represented - but not necessarily owned - by Charles Nickerson. Nickerson is otherwise known as Chuck Nicholson and is one of Tom Walkinshaw's oldest friend, the two men having raced as team mates in the Jaguar XJS touring cars in the early 1980s.
According to Rogeau the company has acquired the AP04 and the intellectual property rights for the AP05, the existing pieces of AP05 and the "rights related to the Concorde Agreement". The company has also leased various bits of AP04 equipment. The decision was made according to the liquidator at a time which made it possible for the team to avoid the problems of the team being insolvent and missing a race - which would wipe out the value of the rights (worth $12m). The official registering of the change is in the process of happening.
Rogeau did say that "this is not in any case an assignment of the Prost Grand Prix company". This is very odd as in order to get the rights to the Concorde Agreement, Phoenix would have to be the owner of Prost Grand Prix as it is this organization that owns the signature to the Concorde Agreement. This right cannot be transferred to another company and so in theory at least Phoenix does not own the company that was signatory to the Concorde Agreement. There is no doubt some way in which the various parties have figured out how to argue this point but it is not going to be easy. If Phoenix had bought the entire Prost company it would have to take on the liabilities as well (which include $30m debt).
The liquidator says he is still trying to sell the Magny-Cours windtunnel.