Sky News reported on Thursday that the McLaren Group, owners of the eponymous Formula 1 team, are preparing to part with the McLaren Technology Center in Woking as part of a sale-leaseback [which will allow them to lease the property to the new owner by paying rent] for an estimated price of around £ 200 million.
The deal is expected to spark the interest of international real estate investors, and will be part of a larger strategy to consolidate the company's finances after months of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
McLaren has already raised hundreds of millions of pounds of equity from existing shareholders this year, as well as a loan of 150 million pounds from the National Bank of Bahrain.
McLaren Group has also appointed Goldman Sachs and HSBC to advise it on a further capital increase and debt refinancing scheduled to take place next year.
McLaren is also preparing to sell a minority stake in its racing division, which is likely to tempt wealthy individuals like the recent sale of the Williams F1 team to US investment fund Dorilton Capital.
A McLaren spokesperson told Sky News that despite the sale, McLaren Group staff would continue to work in Woking: “The potential sale and leaseback of our global headquarters and the appointment of banks to advise us on a debt restructuring and a capital increase are part of the overall refinancing strategy we announced earlier. "
“Building on the short-term measures we put in place over the summer, these initiatives will provide a stronger balance sheet and ensure that McLaren Group has a sustainable platform for growth and investment. long-term. "
“The proposed sale and leaseback reflect the best practices of large companies and will not impact our day-to-day operations. "
“The McLaren Campus, which includes the McLaren Technology Center, McLaren Production Center and McLaren Thought Leadership Center, is a world-class iconic facility that will remain our home into the future. "
Last month the company reported a first-half operating loss of £ 184million, causing "significant uncertainty" as COVID-19 continues to overshadow its outlook for the remainder of the year .
McLaren is one of the most historic names in the F1 paddock and, in more than half a century of competition, has won eight F1 constructors' championships.
An annual budget cap will be introduced in F1 starting next year, and some observers believe the sale of a minority stake could help McLaren operate at the budget cap level on a sustainable basis.
Recall that earlier this year McLaren cut 1,200 jobs in its operations as part of a restructuring plan affecting more than a quarter of its workforce.
McLaren is owned by investors led by Mumtalakat, Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund, which injected £ 300 million in shares into the company as of March.
His search for new funding accelerated following the rejection of a government loan request of £ 150million.