The Williams Grand Prix Holdings (WGPH) company has announced it is considering selling its businesses, which includes its Formula 1 team, in the wake of its ongoing financial struggles.
Williams is one of the oldest teams on the grid, having first raced at the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix, and is still majority-family owned by co-founder Sir Frank Williams with a 51 per cent stake, whilst co-founder Sir Patrick Head holds a 9.3 per cent stake.
In 2011 the company was floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange to raise capital and as such must release public financial filings and in its latest statement, WGPH confirmed it was exploring several options to raise funds, one of which is the “potential sale of the whole Company”.
However the board are also considering other options of raising new capital or the sale of a minority or majority share.
“As part of this new strategic direction, the WGPH board is undertaking a review of all the various strategic options available to the Company,” the statement reads.
“Options being considered include, but are not limited to, raising new capital for the business, a divestment of a minority stake in WGPH, or a divestment of a majority stake in WGPH including a potential sale of the whole Company.
“Whilst no decisions have been made regarding the optimal outcome yet, to facilitate discussions with interested parties, the Company announces the commencement of a “formal sale process”.
Williams confirmed no offers to buy the entire company were on the table yet, but that it is holding talks with “a small number of parties regarding a potential investment”.
The news comes as Williams is expected to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and has already seen revenues fall to £160.2m in 2019 compared to £176.5m in 2018, resulting in a loss of £13m.
Despite this, Williams insists it is ready to compete in the 2020 F1 season when it gets underway in July with the Austrian GP.
“While the Company has faced a number of challenges, Williams currently remains funded and ready to resume racing when the calendar allows in 2020,” read a statement.
“The WGPH board believes that the strategic review and formal sale process is the right and prudent thing to do in order to take time to consider a full range of options and put the Formula 1 team in the best possible position for the future.”
The team also confirmed this week that it would split with title sponsor ROKiT and has yet to offer a full explanation for the reasons behind this move.