JANUARY 7, 2005

BAT and Honda buy BAR

British American Tobacco and Honda are expected to complete the purchase of British American Racing later today. The Formula 1 team was put up for sale before Christmas as part of the necessary paperwork to establish a new ownership structure. This was challenged by former partners Gerry Forsythe and Craig Pollock but a British court rejected their claims and the BAR Holdings Ltd. was put into administration. The company administrators Simon Morris and Andrew Hosking of the Grant Thornton company offered the shares of British American Racing GP Ltd. (the racing team) for sale in the Financial Times but there was never any likelihood of any serious bidder other than the BAT-Honda combination as they were, in effect, paying themselves as they were the major creditors of the old company.

None of this will have any obvious effect on the team and the cars will look much the same as they did last year but we expect to see some more Honda management in roles at BAR.

The plan for the moment at least is for BAT to own 55% of the team and Honda to have 45% although this may change as tobacco companies are forced out of F1 in the months ahead. It is expected that eventually Honda will buy all the shares of the team.