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Williams F1 gets its flotation away, shares fully subscribed
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Williams F1 gets its flotation away, shares fully subscribed
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Mar 2011   |  10:06 am GMT  |  63 comments

Today a little piece of F1 history was made as the Williams F1 team floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The listing, of 2.4 million shares, was fully subscribed at €25 per share, which means that €60 million has been raised, principally for engineering guru Patrick Head, whose stake in the team has reduced to just 5%.

This values the team at €250 million.


The shares started trading on the Frankfurt Borse this morning and were slightly down after the first hour of trading, according to Reuters. Williams chairman Adam Parr was there to see it. He said, “This listing demonstrates investor confidence in both Williams’ future as an independent constructor and its ability to unlock the value of its brand and intellectual property. Williams has solid growth potential which underpins its investment proposition; we will now focus on realising that potential for the benefit of shareholders while continuing our progress back to the front of the Formula one grid.”

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone welcomed Williams’ move into the city with comments yesterday on F1.com, “I think it’s good. Others should also think about it, as I believe that there are enough interested buyers out there. Formula One is by far the best global platform to market a brand.”

The willingness of investors to buy a stake in an F1 team shows that there is belief in the markets that F1 costs are under control and that it can be possible for a team to be profitable. It also shows investor confidence that the negotiations over the new 2013 Concorde Agreement will not lead to the sport imploding, as it almost did in the summer of 2009 over budget caps. But there are still inherent risks in an investment of this kind.

Williams’ business model relies on them competing in the top five or six in the Constructors’ Championship, which they look like they might manage this year, although having a rookie (Pastor Maldonado) in one of the cars obviously carries a risk in terms of overall points scoring. Against that is the investment from Maldonado’s backers, Venezuelan oil giant PDVSA, believed to be for five years.

There have been suggestions for some time that FIAT is thinking of floating part of Ferrari, these rumours intensified when Abu Dhabi investment vehicle Mubadala was asked to sell back its shares in the company.

You can track the performance of Williams’ shares by clicking on this link Williams Share Tracker

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63 Comments
  1. Silverstone79 says:

    Drinks are on Patrick then !

    1. JJ MUPPET says:

      He deserves it, He and Frank are gentleman, I am happy for him.

    2. Andy C says:

      And Ross brawn. Good week for racing people this week.

      1. Good week for racing people, bad week for racing. The last of the greats will be bowing out and they are irreplaceable.

  2. Richard says:

    With the shares floated through Frankfurt, does this mean that Williams is no longer a British team?

    1. ian says:

      It’s just a market place.

    2. Henry says:

      Their racing license will still be British, their factory will still be in Britain, and the majority of their shareholders are (I think) still British, so yes they will be. The reason they floated in Germany was so they did not have to break clauses in the concord agreement by revealing sensitive information about he TV fees.

  3. unoc vII says:

    @James, Williams is a highly successful team that has existed over several decades, do you think that this could be a possible route for a 13th team? Maybe with 30% owned by those running the team, 30% owned by related junior formula and 40% shared out in this manor?

    Do you see this as a possible route for other teams or do think this will be the black sheep, the odd one out.

    1. Andy C says:

      Personally the aspect that made me consider investment was the Kers related add on business.

      Floating an F1 team only would have limited attraction you’d imagine.

  4. **Paul** says:

    I think the value is too high at present. Can anyonw jog my memory regarding the inclusion of WilliamsHP in this as that would make a significant difference.

  5. jonrob says:

    The free part of Digital Look will let you see the prices at any time. You will need to refresh the page to update the prices. http://www.digitallook.com/companyresearch/2537535/Williams_G_P_Hld_Ls-05_Dz/share_prices.html

    If you register free, you can also access the financials, charts etc tabs.

  6. Adam Taylor says:

    are you going to be tempted to buy shares James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not on this occasion

      1. clyde says:

        heh heh :-)

      2. john says:

        Smart move

  7. Jeroen says:

    Down 4% and going!

    If they get to €18, I’m a buyer!

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t see that – it’s at €24 as at 2pm UK time!

      1. Jeroen says:

        so that is 4% down on €25 issue price…

      2. Born 1950 says:

        €1 fall from €25 is a 4% drop, James — or did you mean you can’t see them hitting €18?

        I wonder who buys at €25 and sells a few hours later for €24?

      3. Nando says:

        Day traders.

      4. Born 1950 says:

        Don’t you mean ‘unsuccessful day traders’, Nando?

      5. Nando says:

        They might dump stock at a loss if they see a more profitable avenue elsewhere which they aren’t funded for I’d suppose.

  8. Jeroen says:

    slight side issue James. You should tell the folks at Tag Heuer the Bahrain GP is off (see their banneron your site) :-)

    1. James Allen says:

      Refresh your page or empty cache. Mine shows Australian GP countdown

    2. jonrob says:

      Try Cntrl+Refresh

  9. Phil Bishop says:

    good for Patrick (and the rest of the Williams team)

    It’s lovely to see someone getting rewarded properly for their input to a business and in this case the sport I love

    1. Andy C says:

      Absolutely agree.

  10. Fluebroggle says:

    Slightly off topic…

    Hypothetically, lets suppose Nick Heidfield does extremely well for various reasons (other teams unreliable, crashes, bad qualifying etc etc) and three quarters the way through the season he is in the top three of the championship with just a few points seperately them.

    Around this time, Robert Kubica makes a full recovery and is fully fit to drive again.

    What will happen? Will Renault boot Nick out and give the car back to Robert? Does Robert have a clause in his contract which allows him to do such a thing?

    Or will Renault stay with Nick for the rest of the season in the hope of him winning the championship.

    1. James Allen says:

      Of course if NH was in the running for championship – and if Renault was in a tight fight in Constructors’ championship, where every place is worth £millions, then he’d stay. If and when RK is fit he would be worked back in in the best way for the team, but I cannot see that happening in 2011.

    2. Andy C says:

      If that were the case, you’d have to say that Petrov would be asked to step down in favour of Robert.

      1. Born 1950 says:

        Yeh but, what if Petrov was doing really well, as well?

      2. Andy C says:

        Indeed, I seem to be one of the few that thinks Petrov could turn out to be a solid driver.

        It would depend I guess on what Nicks deal says in that scenario.

        Although, I can’t see us having the discussion about who will win the WDC out of Nick and Vitaly come September time ;-)

      3. Aussie Fan says:

        Andy C I agree, Petrov still makes alot of mistakes (mistakes that in days gone by would have been made generally in testing rather than at actual GP weekends) but the key thing is that when he isn’t making mistakes he is FAST. I feel he has alot of pressure on him to achieve results instantly, in addition to the pressure of being Russia’s best hope in f1. I would like to see him improve on his consistency in 2011 & show some strong finishes, which I am sure he is capable of…

    3. unoc vII says:

      If you can remember abck to Germany in the last season, Ferrari were willing to break rules to get the WDC. Ther eis no way that Renault would throw away the chance purely to play to Kubica.

      Added to that Kubica wont be up to speed straight away, once fully physically and mentally recovered he will still need to get back into racing. Muc sim work, and probably some gp2 affiliated cars or F1 cars from a couple of years ago around tracks to get him back through the motions.

      Unless Petrov fowls up and Kubica is back midway with Renault too far back to move up a place in the WCC and too far foward to lose a place in the WCC, then there is no way they will swich anyone.

      1. Andy C says:

        This is all an entirely hypothetical discussion we’re having though isnt it ;-)

        I would be surprised (but hope for it to happen) if Robert makes it back into the car this season.

      2. unoc vII says:

        I don’t hope so. If he does then it will be too early. There is no way he will have fully recovered physically and mentally as well as preparing himself for F1 standards again and refreshing himself with what has changed all with no testing.

        If we see him back then it’s either due to magic healing everything or because he is in too early.

        Look at other injuries where drivers have broken bones. Schumacher with his leg. Things take time and given that Renault is most probably not fighting for the championship (yes, I know they topped the time sheets at the first test, but that is all), so it is useless to push someone or for him to puish if nothing is to be gained.

  11. Becken says:

    James – Sorry to be a little bit off topic, but do you have any inside info about McLaren´s lack of downforce and performance?

    It looks like they´re in trouble at the moment with their super inovative 26 and I start to vislumbrate 2009 again.

    What that guys are doing wrong in the aero department? That could be the third year in a row that the car lacks downforce.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well, its important to remember that it’s all relative, so if they are off the pace it’s because others are doing a better job, not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong wot the car. Button was careful to say yesterday that the car holds no fundamental problems. It’s just not quick enough. And from what I saw in Barcelona with Hamilton driving, it was wearing out the Pirelli tyres quickly

      1. Andy C says:

        Interesting that both mentioned lack of downforce.

        If we had a pound for every time I’d heard that in the last three years from McLaren.

        The wind tunnel figures were supposed to be good for downforce, and they said they aimed to start with 2010 levels of downforce.

        Perhaps the caveat was they were starting with 2010 Formula ford levels of downforce ;-)

        Really hope they get it sorted. Has to be said they are also a test behind on the new car.

      2. I guess everyone else is on 2011 levels of downforce then ;)

        I kid, I know they had more in 2010!

      3. unoc vII says:

        For a top operation they are looking quite bad.

        2006-2011. 6 years.
        2006 – The car was nowhere near the pace. Kimi was the best driver and even he only managed 65 points (5th) to Alonso’s 134.
        2007 – Great car, but was in McLaren’s?
        2008 – Actually a good year. Pushed for Hamilton but got through
        2009 – Horrible
        2010 – Nearly but only because of RBR’s mistakes
        2011 – Off the pace again.

        Really only 3 good cars in 6 year. 50% of the time. Out of that only 2 eligible for WCC. And out of that only 1 actually had a hope (2010 was more luck and RBR should have easily wrapped it up more than the 2nd last race).

        Ferrair had a similiar problem earlier on.

        I like McLaren, but they really have failed more than they have succeceded over the last 6 years.

    2. **Paul** says:

      Moral of the story is to not call a car innovative until it’s actually gone on track. Plenty of media outlets seemed keen to lavish praise on this car without it turning a wheel, even though perhaps the most innovative feature it has was something that was on a Renault (or whatever they’re called).

      I would suggest that the cancellation of Bahrain is very good news for McLaren to try and work it all out. If it’s eating tyres then we might see it do well in qually but really suffer in race trim, the opposite of the Ferrari perhaps.

      It mustn’t be forgotton that last time KERS was used the McLaren/Mercedes system was absolutely excellent and the best of the grid by some margin. It’ll be interesting to see if the other teams have caught up on that front.

      1. Baktru says:

        It IS innovative. Unfortunately for McL innovative does not necessarily mean fast.

        And all we have so far are test sessions anyway, those are not really a perfect indication. Until Aussie GP rolls around we won’t be certain who is where. I do agree the McL doesn’t look as fast as Ferrari and RBR now, you can’t be certain until the gloves come off and they actually really race.

  12. jonrob says:

    You can also look here:
    http://www.boerse-frankfurt.de/EN/index.aspx?pageID=35&ISIN=DE000A1H6VM4
    and if you click the “Open Xetra order book” button you can see the order book (effectively at level2.) Thus there is/was a demand for 10,000 @ 23.76 ie orders have been place to buy at that level. as at 14:24 GMT. The order book changes constantly as orders are filled and new offers made.

  13. Alanis Morissette says:

    Just shorted these shares big style :-)

    1. jonrob says:

      Who lent you the shares?

      1. Alanis Morissette says:

        Did it via a spreadbet.

      2. jonrob says:

        Ah that’s ok, you are betting against the betting provider not directly affecting the market.

        I was curious because there seems to be only one MM for this stock.
        Am I right that you (well, hedge funds mainly) cannot naked short on the German markets any more?

        Who is your broker?

  14. jonrob says:

    If you are using ADVFN monitor you need to use XE:A1H6VM as the epic.

    1. Silverstone79 says:

      What the @:>* are you on about ?

      1. jonrob says:

        If you don’t understand

        Don’t let it bother you. If you do use ADVFN you will know what it means.

  15. Franko says:

    Should the IPO offering fail to hold the
    share price,with all probability is the
    begining of the end of Williams F1 as we
    know it.
    Mr Head deserve all, a stright shooter if
    ever there was one.

    1. jonrob says:

      It looked over priced. based on the projected P/E and NAV. So it would be likely to fall.

    2. Roger says:

      The share price could halve, and it would have no immediate impact on the team’s performance.

  16. Damian J says:

    Would you really want to invest in a company whose fortunes are heavily dependent on the whim of what Bernie decides to say on any particular day?

    Recent history shows the damage that a FIA President (with Bernie alongside) are able to inflict on individual teams.

  17. Bill Day says:

    For individual investors, it’s a good way to make a small fortune. Assuming they start with a large fortune.

  18. Tim Horton says:

    Does the share offer include Williams Hybrid or has that been spun off into a separate company?

  19. Jim says:

    Can anyone tell me (if allowed on this site) the cheapest/ a cheap way to pick up around £200 worth of these shares online? I.e. No annual fee and minimal trading fee. I don’t intend to buy any other shares.

    1. Dave says:

      I used the Halifax share dealing website easy to set up and only a one off charge of £17.50

      1. James Allen says:

        Keep us posted..

  20. Damian J says:

    James,

    When do you think they will make a final decision on Bahrain for later in the season?

    If a decision is n’t made until later in the season, Bernie could be accused of favouring a team or driver’s championship.

  21. erhmjitwu says:

    and ? didnt ? the ? brand ? to

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