Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Merchant Bankers

I make no apologies to those of you that understand Cockney Rhyming slang because, for once, the title of this piece seems to be justified. I wrote a short while ago about the sale of Bernie's shares in SLEC, the company that is the holding company for Formula One. Further details indicate that Bernie re-invested in the CVC company that bought the shares, so he's not getting out as I originally thought. But it also transpires that all is not well with the sale.

Apparently the two American banks that hold shares, but no voting rights, in SLEC are now complaining that they had a "first-refusal" option on some of the shares that were sold. Now, I might be being stupid here but it really seems that either CVC have paid a lot of money for something without going through an effective due-diligence process, or JP Morgan and Lehmann Brothers are making false claims. Given that these are all large, reputable companies, shouldn't this all be settled behind closed doors? It really doesn't help anyone to be squabbling in public. Unless, of course, that's what Mr Ecclestone wants. It seems unlikely that he's managed to get hold of the reporting rights to such squabbles and expects to make a killing, but you never can tell.


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