McLaren have rejected a £1.65 billion takeover bid from Chinese investors, Sky sources understand.
Sky News’ City Editor Mark Kleinman reported that ‘long-serving McLaren boss Ron Dennis presented the offer for McLaren from a group of unidentified investors last week, a move which prompted his fellow shareholders to launch a plot to oust him as chief executive’.
An emergency board meeting was called on Friday night.
“We are looking at a bitter boardroom battle for control at McLaren,” reported Sportsclubsociety News HQ’s Craig Slater from the Brazilian GP paddock.
“At the moment there is an extraordinary meeting of that McLaren board taking place in the UK and the aim of the majority shareholders there – the Bahraini sovereign wealth fund and the Saudi businessman Mansour Ojjeh – is to have the group chairman Ron Dennis suspended on gardening leave until his contract runs out in mid-January.
“Mr Dennis had again tried to buy out those majority shareholders in partnership with a Chinese consortium. However, they do not want to sell and they want Mr Dennis out.
“No one at McLaren is available for comment.”
Dennis and Ojjeh each own 25 per cent of the McLaren Technology Group, with Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund the remaining 50 per cent.
McLaren’s F1 team are in Brazil preparing for this weekend’s Grand Prix and are yet to comment on the reports. With Dennis back in the UK, and new chief executive Jost Capito also not present, racing director Eric Boullier is currently the most senior representative on site at Interlagos.
Dennis, 69, is the architect of the modern McLaren and during his tenure as team principal, between 1981 and 2009 won 10 Drivers’ and seven Constructors’ Championships.
After handing over the reins to Martin Whitmarsh following Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 title win, Dennis returned as CEO in 2014 and oversaw a management restructure which resulted in the departure of his successor.
He has also overseen the successful launch of a sportscar arm and the diversification of McLaren into a wider technology company.
However, reports of tension between Dennis and his fellow shareholders have lingered for several years. The Englishman, however, insisted in an interview with Sky F1’s Martin Brundle last month he had no intention of retiring yet.