NOVEMBER 21, 2003
Selling Eddie Jordan
Eddie Jordan admits that he is keen to sell a majority shareholding in his Formula 1 team but he wants to do a Bernie Ecclestone kind of deal and stay in charge after selling out. In short, Eddie Jordan is not selling the team so much as selling Eddie Jordan as a concept.
It will be interesting to see how he does but it is not going to be easy to create the belief on the part of the buyer that the previous owner is essential for the continued running of the operation. Jordan finished ninth out of 10 in this year's Constructors' Championship.
Keeping control of a team after a sale is rare. Peter Sauber did it successfully with Red Bull until he and Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz fell out over the team's policy (Mateschitz did not want to sign up Kimi Raikkonen) and so Sauber organized that the Red Bull shares be passed on to another owner Credit Suisse.
Thus far Jordan has failed. A few years ago he had a deal in principle with Honda but the Japanese refused to accept that Jordan needed to stay on. EJ had to kiss goodbye to another $30m in the bank. The negotiations showed that although Jordan is an interesting character, he is not Bernie Ecclestone and the top brass at Honda did not consider it necessary that he remain in charge. In the end they decided to do a long-term deal with BAR and in the end Jordan lost his Honda engine deal as well.
Ever the optimist, Jordan says that there are "interests in Macau, Hong Kong or elsewhere" which might be interested in acquiring his team if he comes along with the furniture.
There is also a question as to whether Jordan needs to do such a deal because only a few months ago he came up with a consortium of Irishmen to help him out and it is unlikely that they agreed to part with cash unless there was a commitment from Jordan to stay on for a certain period of time.
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