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US investors set to buy stake in McLaren F1 team

 A consortium of US-based investors are set to acquire a 15 per cent stake in the McLaren Formula 1 team, with an official announcement expected ahead of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The deal, which was first reported by Sky News, will see McLaren sell an initial 15 per cent stake, but that is expected to rise to 33 per cent in 2022.

US-based MSP Sports Capital is leading the deal, which is valued at £185 million, valuing the British F1 team at £550m in total.

One of the consortium’s principals Jahm Najafi will become vice-chairman of McLaren Racing under the deal, whilst Jeff Moorad of MSP and Rodrigo Trelles Zabala of UBS O’Connor will join the McLaren Racing board as non-executive directors.

The group already has major sports interests, including Spanish and Portuguese football leagues, as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres baseball teams in the US.

The deal doesn’t include McLaren Automotive, which is a separate entity under the McLaren Group, which has recently been struggling with cashflow and forced McLaren to sell its headquarters as part of a leaseback deal, as well as borrowing £150m from the National Bank of Bahrain.

McLaren is set to hold a press conference on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, where the deal is expected to be confirmed.

Probed on McLaren’s finances on Friday, racing boss Zak Brown said he was confident of a “comfortable” future for the team.

“Yep, very comfortable that we will be operating at the budget cap,” he said. “We will have all the resources we need. Our chairman is, as you know, restructuring the business. He is very experienced in that so everything is going according to plan and very comfortable and excited about our future.”


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