Founders to pocket EUR 70m in Williams float

By on Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feb.10 (GMM) Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head will pocket the proceeds of Williams' Frankfurt float rather than invest it back into their famous British team.

The Oxfordshire based outfit announced on Wednesday that the pricing of the shares being offered to the public values Williams at about EUR 265 million.

That would make the 27 per cent stake on offer worth more than EUR 70 million.

A report in the Daily Mail said potential investors "may be concerned at the majority of the proceeds from the float going to Head rather than being ploughed into the company".

At a London press event on Wednesday, it emerged that Head is selling 17.7 per cent of his current stake, while team boss Sir Frank Williams' share is dwindling from 56.7 per cent to 50.3.

"I've never taken any money out before," confirmed Williams, 68.

Rather than raise money for the team, then, investors who buy more than 1 per cent of Williams might be attracted by the formation of a team "owners' club", including invitations to grands prix.

"So you'd need EUR 2.65 million, roughly, to buy 1 per cent, which I appreciate is a lot of money for most of us.

"But there are many people out there for whom that would be an interesting proposition," said team chairman Adam Parr.

"We have two dominant shareholders who are in their mid to late 60s, both in very fine condition but both looking to exit the business at some point," he continued.

"The flotation creates liquidity for them and, more importantly, for the team it creates stability -- we don't end up being owned by a Russian oligarch or a car company who might one day pull the pin," he added.

Parr also explained that Williams is floating in Germany because the London Stock Exchange would have seen the team fall foul of F1's strict commercial confidentiality rules.

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