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Mercedes set for McLaren takeover UPDATE #5 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Ron Dennis has ruled out German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz taking control over the McLaren team in the near future. There have been persistent rumors around the F1 paddock that Mercedes-Benz are looking to increase the 40 percent shareholding that they currently have in the team however Dennis has said that the manufacturer are happy with the current setup and are not planning to make increase their stake in the F1 team.

Ron Dennis

When asked by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera whether Mercedes were looking to increase their stake in the team, Dennis replied, “No – I don’t see the point. Things are fine as they are. Each year, we discuss our plans together and we are agree on everything.”

Dennis has also revealed that despite contemplating retiring or decreasing his involvement with the sport at the end of the season, he will not be changing his current role.

“In early 2007 I was thinking of becoming less involved in the races. Then what happened, happened, and I didn’t want to leave on those terms. Sooner or later something will change because I have other things planned. But I will not give up the team totally – I’ll just change my role in the team. McLaren is in my blood, and I am not an employee so no-one can fire me!” Formula1.net

01/16/08 (GMM)  Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday would not confirm reports that it is poised to take a majority stake in the McLaren team.

Auto Motor und Sport claimed that that the Stuttgart manufacturer has been positioning for the takeover since October 2007, and has now agreed a shareholding arrangement and price with the McLaren Group.

Official confirmation is reportedly due before the start of the 2008 season in March.

But the British news agency Reuters quotes a spokesman as saying: "The status quo has not changed at all.

"Daimler still holds 40 percent of the McLaren Group.  We ask for your understanding that we will not comment on speculation beyond this."

Mercedes paid an estimated $400 million for its 40 per cent stake in 1999.

01/16/08 (GMM) McLaren's engine and equity partner Mercedes-Benz has finally decided to take a majority stake in the British team, a specialist magazine reports.

Auto Motor und Sport, the respected German publication, claims that the Stuttgart manufacturer is now poised to take over the team from Ron Dennis, who has run the team from headquarters in Woking (UK) since the early 80s.

The magazine claims that Mercedes-Benz has been positioning for the takeover since October 2007, and has now agreed a shareholding arrangement and price with the McLaren Group.

Official confirmation is reportedly due before the start of the 2008 season in March.

01/08/08 (GMM)  Ron Dennis on Monday sidestepped suggestions that he could move into semi-retirement, amid rumors that Mercedes-Benz is positioning to buy his shares of the McLaren team.

The Woking based outfit's chairman and team principal conspicuously played a secondary role to his deputy Martin Whitmarsh as the 2008 car, the MP4-23, was unveiled at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.

"We are formulating the future in lots of ways and there is absolutely no decision on anything that relates to anybody's position in the company," Dennis told reporters at the event.

60-year-old Dennis' future at the helm of the silver-liveried collaboration has been increasingly under the spotlight because of his handling of the 'Stepneygate' espionage scandal.

A McLaren spokesperson, however, also played down the Mercedes-Benz buyout reports.

"There are no plans for any announcements of this sort," the spokesperson told the British newspaper The Guardian.

01/07/08 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  Mercedes-Benz is on the verge of buying a majority shareholding in the McLaren group, a move which could spell the end of Ron Dennis's control of the British formula one team.

The potential buyout seemed a step closer yesterday with the unveiling of the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23 car for the forthcoming season in the German manufacturer's ultramodern museum complex in Stuttgart. It was the first time in their 13-year partnership that McLaren had unveiled their new formula one car on Mercedes' home turf and, although the unexpected presence of Bernie Ecclestone, the formula one commercial rights holder, may have signaled formal absolution for the British team after their involvement in the last season's espionage scandal, the fact that Dennis took very much a back seat at the formal press conference fuelled speculation that the 60-year-old McLaren chairman might be considering a dignified retreat into semi-retirement. “There are no plans for any announcements of this sort," said a McLaren spokesperson, but a senior executive, asked whether Mercedes is on course to buy a bigger shareholding, replied: "I think they'd like to."

01/06/08 (GMM)  Norbert Haug has declined to totally rule out Mercedes-Benz taking over the McLaren team.

The 55-year-old German, who is the German manufacturer's competition boss, answered in the newspaper Bild speculation that Mercedes is preparing to buy the 30 per cent of the Woking based team that is still held by Ron Dennis and his long time equity partner Mansour Ojjeh.

Mercedes-Benz is currently McLaren's largest shareholder with 40 per cent, with Bahraini investors owning the other 30 per cent.

Asked about the rumors, Haug said: "At the moment there is nothing to it.  It is the same situation as before.

"But we do have opportunities," he added.

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