Rumor: BMW and Audi eye buying McLaren (3rd Update)

Bloomberg reports that The manufacturer plans to study the financials of McLaren in the coming weeks to help decide on potential transactions, according to people familiar with the matter. Volkswagen AG’s premium brand previously floated the idea of acquiring McLaren as a way to gain access to the Formula 1 business, but McLaren deemed the offer as too low, one of the people said.

Audi’s supervisory board reviewed options on Wednesday as part of the plan to enter F1, the people said, which is led by Chief Executive Officer and long-standing racing fan Markus Duesmann. The company may not decide until next year whether to team up with McLaren and could also pursue alternative partnerships with the likes of Red Bull Racing or Williams Racing, they said, declining to be named discussing details of the negotiations.

A deal with McLaren would have to overcome a number of economic challenges. The boutique sports car-maker has struggled financially since the pandemic disrupted its production and the Formula 1 racing circuit. Over the past year, the company has sold and leased back its headquarters in Woking, near London; sold a stake in its racing unit to a consortium of U.S.-based investors; and raised money from new and existing investors, including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth funds.


November 15, 2021 

McLaren Group Statement:

McLaren Group is aware of a news media report stating it has been sold to Audi. This is wholly inaccurate and McLaren is seeking to have the story removed.

McLaren’s technology strategy has always involved ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other carmakers, however, there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group.


November 15, 2021 

McLaren has denied being bought by Audi, after an Autocar source reported that the German manufacturer had acquired the whole group to secure it an entry into Formula 1.

In a statement, the brand said the story was “wholly inaccurate”, adding: “McLaren’s technology strategy has always involved ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other carmakers, however, there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group.”

An Audi spokesperson had no official comment to add at this stage, but Reuters reported yesterday that Audi was “open to cooperation opportunities”. Earlier reports that BMW was interested in the Woking brand were subsequently dismissed by the Munich firm.

McLaren has been operating under heavy financial pressures despite an injection of capital late last year following a refinancing worth up to £500 million. McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt stepped down from his role after eight years last month.

A McLaren takeover would have given Audi access to another supercar brand alongside Lamborghini, which it controls. It would also have opened up the possibility of Audi engines powering McLaren. It would not, however, give Audi control of McLaren Applied, the arm of the group that specializes in electrification systems for both road and track, as that was sold to a private investment group earlier this year.

 


November 15, 2021 

If BMW is considering buying McLaren as rumors out of Germany say, it certainly is not admitting it.

BMW AG denied a Automobilwoche report that it’s interested in buying McLaren Automotive Ltd., while Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit suggested it might be open to some form of cooperation with the British supercar-maker.

Both BMW and Audi are eyeing the company’s supercar business, with Audi also interested in the manufacturer’s Formula 1 racing team, Automobilwoche reported Sunday, without specifying where it got the information.

A BMW spokesman said that the Automobilwoche article is “wrong.” A spokeswoman for Audi responded that the company “routinely considers various ideas for cooperation” as part of its “strategic deliberations.”

BMW will hold talks with Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, which controls McLaren, at the beginning of next month, Automobilwoche said.

McLaren has been attempting to repair its finances following the impact of the pandemic. In July, the Woking, England-based company raised 550 million pounds ($738 million) from existing investors and the sale of preference shares and equity warrants to new backers Ares Management Corp. and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. It also raised $620 million from a bond issue. –Bloomberg–