Williams considering stock flotation
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, January 21st 2011, 11:50 GMT|
Williams is considering the radical step of a public flotation in a bid to secure its long-term financial health, the team announced on Friday.
After much speculation about the Grove-based outfit's financial health in recent months following the departure of a number of sponsors at the end of last year, the team has responded by mapping out its vision to help bolster its financial future.
A statement from team principal Frank Williams said that a flotation on the stock market would be a boost, but would help ensure its long-term survival.
"For some years I have been considering how to secure the long-term ownership of Williams such that it will remain true to the aims with which Patrick and I established the team back in 1977," said Williams.
"My goal then was to race in Formula 1 as an independent constructor. This was and is my great passion and I will race for as long as I continue to be blessed with good health. It is also my desire that the team is in good shape to go on racing long after I am gone.
"To that end, it is prudent and necessary to plan for an ownership structure that will enable Williams to be an independent Constructor, owned and staffed by people committed to Formula 1 and to the sound business practices which have supported us over three decades.
"I have concluded that the option which will best achieve this is to broaden our shareholder base with public shareholders, while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team. This will ensure stability, good governance and will, I believe, enable us to attract and retain the best people and partners.
"Patrick, Toto and I are therefore examining this option closely and, if the environment is propitious, we may act in the near future."
Williams and team co-owner Patrick Head long held out to maintain full control of the team they set-up, but did sell a 10% stake to Austrian businessman Toto Wolff at the end of 2009.
Despite any imminent move to sell the team on the stock market, Williams has made it clear that he will maintain his position as the majority shareholder and team boss.
"Regardless of whatever steps we take, I shall remain the majority and controlling shareholder and the Team Principal of AT&T Williams," he said.