OCTOBER 8, 2003
Who are those guys?
The announcement that a Dublin-based consortium has bought a 49.9% stake in Jordan Grand Prix from private equity firm Warburg Pincus is interesting in a number of different ways, not least because of recent rumors that Craig Pollock might be involved in running the F1 team in the future.
The most important question is who is a member of "the consortium" which is being fronted by an Irish stockbroking company called Merrion. There is nothing in the firm's short history to suggest an interest in Jordan, except the fact that it is Irish. The big question however is whether the people behind the business are also Irish or whether they come from elsewhere. It is quite possible that the buyers could include Craig Pollock and his sometime BAR sidekick Rick Gorne, who was recently taken on as a marketing consultant at Jordan.
Merrion is part-owned by an American finance company but there are no signs that this has had any active involvement in motorsports.
The other point that is significant is that Merrion has acquired 49.9% of the team. This is more than the share that was originally owned by Warburg Pincus, which bought $40% of the team in 1998 for around $60m. This means that either Jordan has had to cede ownership to Warburg Pincus in the course of the last couple of years (which is quite possible) or that the new buyers wanted more control and took stock from Jordan. If this is the case, it would indicate that the buyers know exactly what they are doing because, as the 40% deal with Warburg Pincus highlighted, firms buying into F1 teams do not always understand the importance of equity. With the team half-owned by two parties it is now quite possible for Eddie Jordan to retain his position as team boss but will step back from the running of the organization.
It is also worth considering that there may be options involved in the deal to allow the investors to buy more stock in the years ahead.
Gorne has been involved in several plans in recent years to form an F1 team using US money.
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