SBD Global/November 13, 2012/FinancePrint All
The future of Spanish F1 team HRT "is up in the air," according to Javier Rubio of ELCONFIDENCIAL.com. With "serious economic difficulties" as the season gets close to a finish, 32 employees of the team have been told that their services were not needed anymore. Furthermore, HRT owner Thesan Capital, has put the team up for sale with a goal of finding a buyer "before December." If no deal is reached, "it could mean the end of the Spanish team." Thesan Capital released the following statement, "TC II S.a.rl., the current owner of the HRT Formula 1 Team, would like to confirm that they are currently in talks with a number of groups interested in buying the team. HRT's current management hopes to conclude the sale in the upcoming weeks and, with it, enable the team to continue progressing and become a reference in modern-day Formula 1 after the important achievements already accomplished in this 2012 season" (ELCONFIDENCIAL.com, 11/12). MOTORSPORT AKTUELL reported that the team's deadline to find a buyer is set for Dec. 2 (MOTORSPORT AKTUELL, 11/12).
The Caterham F1 team has "received a financial boost at the eleventh hour," according to Christian Sylt of PITPASS.com. The boost comes "in the form of a £5.7M ($9M) loan from Malaysian investment bank CIMB, which earlier this year was named as one of the backers of the stalled £6.3B ($10B) flotation of F1 itself." It gave the loan to Caterham on Sept. 18, and it is "secured on the team's factory in Leafield," England. This means that "if the team fails to repay the money it could lose its base of operations." The team lies in 11th place and only has two races remaining in which to improve its position, "otherwise its prize money will fall to a fixed fee of £6.3M ($10M) from the estimated £22.9M ($36.6M) it received for finishing 10th last year." Caterham needs to do whatever it can "to regain 10th place from Marussia." For a team like Caterham £5.7M is a lot of money, and it "needs the boost now more than ever before." This season has been Caterham's "worst since it joined F1 in '10 as it has finished 10th for the past two consecutive years, which qualified it for a share of the sport's profits rather than the £6.3M fixed fee" (PITPASS.com, 11/12). MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com's Roman Wittemeier reported that "about half of all F1 teams have financial difficulties." Even Lotus, the winner of the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, "is looking for a new investor that is supposed to take on a majority of the team's debt and put new money in the team." The Caterham team "has spent more than $123M since it joined F1 in '10" (MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com, 11/12).
Britain's largest bookmaker William Hill "will get more time to finalize" a proposed £530 ($843M) offer for online gaming group Sportingbet, according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. William Hill and smaller partner GVC Holdings "won provisional backing for the takeover proposal" from the Sportingbet board last month. The deadline to submit a formal offer is 5pm GMT on Tuesday, but sources said that it is "likely to be extended by four weeks to allow more time for due diligence." The "main prize" for William Hill is Sportingbet's operations in Australia. William Hill makes most of its revenues in Britain but is "expanding overseas and bought three businesses in the U.S. state of Nevada earlier this year." Sportingbet is a market leader in Australian telephone and online gaming, with the two accounting for almost 70% of the company's revenues last year (REUTERS, 11/12).