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Williams and Head to pocket €70 million from share float

ESPNF1 Staff
February 10, 2011 « Renault to 'evaluate' Heidfeld in testing | »
Long-time partners - Patrick Head and Frank Williams chat with Alan Jones in 1981 © Press Association

Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head will pocket the proceeds of Williams' Frankfurt float rather than invest it back into the team. They are looking to raise around €70 million by selling 27% of the shares in the company.

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% of his current stake, while team boss Sir Frank Williams' share is dwindling from 56.7% 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% 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%, which I appreciate is a lot of money for most of us," said team chairman Adam Parr. "But there are many people out there for whom that would be an interesting proposition.

"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. 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."

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.