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SBD Global/December 3, 2013/Franchises

Mercedes Exec Dir Wolff Says Marussia Held Merger Talks With Williams, Sauber

Mercedes Exec Dir Toto Wolff has revealed that "talks have taken place about merging Marussia and Williams though he says they are 'getting nowhere' as it would lead to the closure of Marussia," according to Reid & Sylt for ESPN. Wolff is at the center of the discussions as he "owns a 12.2% stake in Williams." The team "is floated" on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and has a market value of €180.2M ($244M), meaning that Wolff's stake is worth €22M ($29.8M). He has owned shares in Williams since '09, when he "became a director of the team." Earlier this year, "it came to light that Marussia had been in talks with Caterham about a merger, but it was thought that it had given up on the strategy." Recent rumors suggested that Marussia Owner Andrey Cheglakov "had been in discussion with Sauber and Williams about a merger and Wolff confirmed it." He said, "One of the discussions we had was with Marussia. They discussed it with Sauber as well." Marussia finished '13 in 10th place, which is one spot higher than last year. However, it "has not scored a point since joining F1" in '10. In '12 it made a £59M net loss which widened by 27.4% on the previous year. It was driven by an 8.7% increase in costs to £76.1M while revenue only rose by 2.9% to £29.4M (ESPN, 12/2).
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