Potential buyer named for McLaren’s HQ

Jon Wilde
McLaren HQ

McLaren HQ

One of the world’s biggest buyout groups is reportedly in pole position to purchase McLaren’s HQ, which would then be leased back.

American private equity firm TPG is reported by Sky News to be in exclusive talks to buy the site in Woking, Surrey, which includes the McLaren Technology Centre, for £180m.

The transaction could be finalised as early as this month and will be structured as a sale-and-leaseback, enabling McLaren to continue occupying their home while raising money to strengthen a balance sheet hit hard by the health pandemic.

The deal is being handled by property agent Colliers and has attracted interest from a range of international investors.

McLaren have raised hundreds of millions of pounds in equity from existing shareholders since the start of the pandemic, as well as securing a £150m loan from the National Bank of Bahrain.

The company also sold a minority stake in their racing division to a consortium led by MSP Sports Capital.

A further equity-raise and debt refinancing, on which Goldman Sachs and HSBC are advising, are expected this year.

Last year, McLaren cut 1,200 jobs across the group’s operations as part of a restructuring plan affecting more than a quarter of its workforce.

McLaren HQ

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McLaren are owned by investors led by Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, which injected £300m of equity into the company a year ago.

The search for new funding was accelerated after a £150m loan from the government was rejected.

The sale and leaseback of their HQ will come after McLaren parachuted in Paul Walsh, former boss of Diageo, as executive chairman – a move that stoked speculation McLaren’s shareholders ultimately wanted to take the company public.

TPG, meanwhile, was previously known as Texas Pacific Group, founded in 1992 in Fort Worth and retaining a presence there but now based in San Francisco.

They have approximately $85billion in assets under management.

McLaren will this week take part in pre-season testing for the 2021 season with their drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, ahead of the curtain-raising grand prix two weeks later at the same Bahrain International Circuit.

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