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McLaren sells stake in F1 squad to US-led investment group

McLaren Group has sold a minority stake in its Formula 1 team to a US-based sports investment group, a move that shores up the future of the company and is designed to help the racing division return to the front of the grid.

A consortium led by MSP Sports Capital will invest £185 million in McLaren Racing, initially taking a 15 per cent share that will rice to 33 per cent by the end of 2022. The move values the long-running Formula 1 team, one of the most successful in the history of the sport, at £560 million.

The deal does not include McLaren Automotive, the firm’s road car arm, which will remain wholly owned by the McLaren Group and as a result will become a greater focus of the company. McLaren is gearing up to unveil the Artura, its first series production hybrid, next year as a replacement for its Sport Series line.

Autocar first revealed that McLaren was looking to sell a stake in its racing team in July, when the firm was struggling in the wake of the coronavirus and there was reportedly a clash between some of its shareholders over long-term goals for the Automotive, Racing and Applied divisions. McLaren Group has also been looking to raise funds from its Woking headquarters in a sale and lease-back deal.

MSP Sports Capital is a sports investment group that owns stakes in a number of sports teams and related companies. It has partnered with UBS O’Connor, a hedge fund owned by the Swiss bank, and The Najafi Companies, a private investment firm.

McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown has committed to the team “for the long term” following the deal, with his leadership team also remaining in place. As part of the deal, MSP Sports Capital’s Jeff Moorad and UBS O’Connor’s Rodrigo Trelles Zabala will join McLaren Racing’s board of directors.

Brown said: ““This new investment bolsters our plan to return McLaren to contention for race wins and championships in Formula 1 and IndyCar, and will strengthen our positive momentum as we continue to focus relentlessly on our mission to return to the top of the podium.”

Paul Walsh, McLaren Group’s executive chairman, said the partnership “represents another important step in our proactive strategy to position McLaren Group for long-term success. Bringing partner capital and expertise into McLaren Racing will support the team’s return to the front of the grid and further strengthen our financial position. 

The McLaren racing team was founded by Bruce McLaren in 1963, and has competed in F1 since 1966. The team has scores 182 race wins, eight drivers’ and 12 constructors’ championships. It also expanded to run a team in the IndyCar Series this year.

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