Ron Dennis cuts ties with McLaren as he sells stake for £275m
McLaren have confirmed that Ron Dennis has stepped down as chairman of the company and has sold his stake in the business for a reported £275 million, valuing the automotive group at more than £2 billion – making it one of the most valuable privately-owned companies in the UK.
Dennis, who joined the McLaren F1 team back in 1980 and transformed the business in to what it is today; an automotive and technology market leader, will have no involvement going forward. It follows a falling out between himself and other shareholders which led to him being ousted as chief executive last November.
Dennis remained chairman after that and retained his 25 per cent shareholding in the company before launching a takeover bid for the entire business. That was however rejected by the remaining shareholders.
On Friday, McLaren announced that Dennis would step down as chairman and would sell his stake, which would bring together both McLaren Automotive and the McLaren Technology Group under one corporate structure to be called the McLaren Group.
The Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and TAG Group become the McLaren Group’s long-term majority shareholders. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa will be McLaren Group’s executive chairman, Mansour Ojjeh its executive committee principal.
Ojjeh said of the announcement: "Since I became a major investor in the business 33 years ago, I am exceptionally proud of what each of our extraordinary McLaren businesses have achieved, growing independently and entrepreneurially. Now, as they have reached world-class scale and success, it is the right next step to unify the strategies and brands to create a stronger centre of Luxury Automotive, Racing and Technological excellence.
"In a matter of just seven short years, McLaren Automotive has established itself as one of the world’s leading creators of luxury sports and supercars. Its products are now routinely hailed as best-in-class. Mike Flewitt and his team have done, and are continuing to do a brilliant job, and the company’s recent announcement of a fourth consecutive year of profitability indicates a robust future. The new McLaren 720S, the first car to be launched under its Track22 business plan, is already sold out well into 2018 and there will be a lot more exciting cars where that came from.
"McLaren Racing, part of McLaren Technology Group, is not currently achieving the on-track success in Formula 1 that we know it is capable of, and that it has achieved in the past, but that will change. As motor racing is in our DNA, we exist to win in Formula 1 and be the best in everything we do. Jonathan Neale and Zak Brown, supported by Eric Boullier and the best engineers, mechanics and marketers in Formula 1, are fully engaged in the process of bringing about that turnaround, and it will be great to see McLaren back in the winners’ circle before too long.
"McLaren Applied Technologies continues to go from strength to strength. Partnering with companies that share our visionary determination to innovate, it is becoming profitable as well as pioneering ground-breaking technologies. And its scope for development is exciting. This is an area of our business in which we intend to invest, with a view to achieving consistent growth."
Al Khalifa added: "McLaren is unique, due to its strong heritage and passion to be best in everything it does, but also because no other company in the world can claim a corporate structure that comprises automotive, motorsport and applied technologies. It’s clear that as one Group, each of those three pillars of our business will support and enhance the other two.
“Together they will embark on what I firmly believe to be a new and even more successful era in the McLaren brand’s dynamic and fascinating 54-year history."