Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll has finally bought stake in Aston Martin Lagonda as Racing Point is set to be re-branded as a new F1 outfit.
After months of discussions and multiple investors talk, Aston Martin has finally been sold to Stroll on Friday and his associates, as the Canadian billionaire buys 16.7 percent stake in the British car maker company, with fresh cash infusion to keep it afloat.
The deal sits to be at £500 million. Like when Stroll bought Racing Point, he has his other company Yew Tree Overseas Limited buying 45.6 million new ordinary shares. The consortium includes more high-profile personnel with the Canadian.
They are Andre Desmarais (Former CEO of Power Corp. Canada), Michael de Picciotto (Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Engel & Volkers AG), Silas Chou (the Hong Kong fashion sector investor), John Idol (Chairman and CEO of Capri Holdings), Lord Anthony Bamford (Chairman of JCB) and John McCaw (former part owner of McCaw Cellular).
The immediate change comes in 2021 when Racing Point gets a makeover to become Aston Martin F1 Team, while the brand will continue to sponsor Red Bull Racing for 2020 season. The association with Red Bull Advanced Technologies limits to Aston Martin Valkyrie.
The agreement is for a 10-year initial term and Aston Martin Lagonda will receive an economic interest in the team. It includes a sponsorship arrangement from 2021 for until 2025 which can be rewed for a further five years.
“I am very pleased that I, and my partners in the Consortium, have reached agreement with the Board and major shareholders to make this significant long-term investment,” said Stroll. “Aston Martin Lagonda makes some of the world’s most iconic luxury cars, designed and built by very talented people.
“Our investment announced today underpins the Company’s financial security and ensures it will be operating from a position of financial strength. On completion of the £500m of fundraising I look forward to working with the Board and management team in Aston Martin Lagonda to review and improve each aspect of the company’s operations and marketing; to continue to invest in the development of new models and technologies and to start to rebalance production to prioritise demand over supply.
“I, and my partners, firmly believe that Aston Martin is one of the great global luxury car brands. I believe that this combination of capital and my experience of both the motor industry and building highly successful global brands will mean that, over time, we fulfil Aston Martin Lagonda’s potential.”
At the same time, Penny Hughes, Aston Martin Lagonda Chair, stated: “The difficult trading performance in 2019 resulted in severe pressure on liquidity which has left the Company with no alternative but to seek substantial additional equity financing.
“Without this the balance sheet is not robust enough to support the operations of the group. Notwithstanding recent weak trading, the strength of the Aston Martin brand and our expanding portfolio of cars has allowed us to attract a strong new partner in Mr. Stroll to support the turnaround of the business.”
And finally, Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, added: “As we announced on 7 January 2020, the past year has been a regrettably disappointing and challenging time for the Company.
“Despite our continued efforts, the difficult trading conditions and resulting poor performance in 2019 has put the Company in a stressed position with severe pressure on liquidity and affected our ability to deliver against our original plan. Today’s fundraising is necessary and provides a platform to support the long-term future of the Company.
“Mr. Stroll brings strong and proven expertise in both automotive and luxury brands more widely which we believe will be of significant benefit to Aston Martin Lagonda. Following a comprehensive review, today we announce a series of immediate actions to reset, stabilise and de-risk the business, positioning it for controlled, long-term profitable growth.
“These include rebalancing supply-demand dynamics, reducing capital expenditure and the re-phasing of some future product launches, together with cost-efficiency initiatives. We are focused on turning around performance, restoring price positioning and delivering a more efficient operational footprint.
“We will deliver some exciting new products this year with the much-anticipated DBX during Q2, Vantage Roadster in the spring and Aston Martin Valkyrie deliveries starting in H2. We have also announced plans to leverage a new motorsport collaboration with Racing Point to enhance the execution of the plan.
“I would like to thank Red Bull Racing, who we will continue to sponsor this year, for their partnership and support in us being able to say this today. The actions announced today will allow us to implement and deliver on our reset plan and provide Aston Martin Lagonda with a sustainable platform for the future.”
Here’s the full statement on the deal:
“Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc (“Aston Martin Lagonda” or the “Company”) today announces its intention to strengthen its balance sheet to necessarily and immediately improve liquidity and reduce leverage.
This follows the disappointing performance of the business through 2019 resulting in severe pressure on liquidity exacerbated by the current high leverage. As such the Company confirms the following plans for a primary issuance of shares subject to shareholder approval:
-A proposed placing of 45.6m new ordinary shares in the capital of the Company at a price of £4.00 per share to the Consortium (the “Placing”) to raise £182m, representing 16.7% of the post-Placing issued share capital of the Company.
-A subsequent proposed underwritten rights issue to raise £318m (the “Rights Issue”) to be launched after the publication of the Preliminary Results for 2019.
-Prestige/Strategic European Investment Group (SEIG) and Adeem/Primewagon (the “Major Shareholders”) who together own c.61% of the issued share capital of the Company as at the date of this announcement and who are expected to own c.50.5% following the proposed Placing have irrevocably undertaken to vote in favour of the Placing and the Rights Issue. Prestige/SEIG and Adeem/Primewagon have also irrevocably undertaken to take up 100% and at least 50% of their rights respectively.
-The Consortium will irrevocably undertake to take up in full its rights under the Rights Issue, following completion of the Placing to it for a total equity investment of approximately £235m.
-The net proceeds from the proposed Placing and Rights Issue will be used to improve liquidity and finance the ramp up in production of DBX and the turnaround of the Company’s performance.
As part of the investment from the Consortium:
-Yew Tree Overseas Limited (“Yew Tree”), a vehicle controlled by Mr. Stroll, has agreed to provide £55.5m of short-term working capital support, the financial terms of which are significantly favourable compared with the Delayed Draw Notes, in order to improve the liquidity of the Company immediately. Upon settlement of the Placing, this will be refunded, and the Company would no longer plan to draw the $100m of Delayed Draw Notes.
-The Consortium, which will be led and controlled by Mr. Stroll, is expected to comprise a number of individuals including, but not limited to, André Desmarais (Former CEO of Power Corp. Canada), Michael de Picciotto (Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Engel & Volkërs AG), Silas Chou (the Hong Kong fashion sector investor), John Idol (Chairman and CEO of Capri Holdings), Lord Anthony Bamford (Chairman of JCB) and John McCaw (former part owner of McCaw Cellular).
-The Consortium has indicated its intention to seek to increase its holding up to 20% of the issued share capital of the Company.
-As a condition of the Consortium’s investment, Mr. Stroll will join the Board and become Executive Chairman upon completion of the Placing.
-Mrs Penny Hughes has confirmed her intention to step down as a Director following the completion of the Placing.
-In addition, the Consortium will have the right to appoint a further Board member for so long as its holding of voting rights of the Company is equal to or exceeds the lower of (i) 20% or (ii) the % holding that it has immediately upon completion of the Placing and upon completion of the Rights Issue, as applicable.
-During the turnaround the Board recognises that, in this special situation, it will continue not to be fully compliant with the UK Corporate Governance Code with respect to Board composition. It will be necessary for the Board to consider its composition over time. Further details on Governance will be covered in the circular and prospectus to be published by the Company in relation to the Placing and Rights Issue.
Mid-engined cars are a core part of Aston Martin Lagonda’s future. As part of this, an enhanced approach to F1TM is considered important. Aston Martin Lagonda and ventures affiliated to the Consortium have agreed to collaborate in pursuit of driving the successful execution of the reset plan:
-As part of this, Aston Martin Lagonda has entered into a legally binding termsheet under which the Racing Point F1TM team will become the Aston Martin F1TM works team with effect from the 2021 season. This agreement is for a 10-year initial term and Aston Martin Lagonda will receive an economic interest in the team.
-The agreement also includes a sponsorship arrangement from 2021 and for the subsequent four years with commercial terms commensurate with the Company’s current annual F1TM expenditure, renewable for five years, subject to satisfying certain conditions at the time.
-For the 2020 F1TM season Aston Martin will continue with its proud sponsorship of the Red Bull Racing F1TM Team.
-The technology partnership between Aston Martin Lagonda and Red Bull Advanced Technologies will continue until Aston Martin Valkyrie is delivered.
As announced on 7 January 2020, the Company has experienced challenging trading conditions throughout 2019, resulting in lower sales, higher selling costs and lower margins versus expectations.
The underperformance of the Company against its original plans and the resulting severe pressure on liquidity, has prompted an operational and financial review of the business. This has resulted in a revised business plan, the reset plan, as described in this announcement.
-The Company is focusing on providing greater financial and operational stability and flexibility through controlling medium-term investment, improving cash generation and rephasing product cadence. Investment in electric vehicles will be delayed beyond 2025, however the mid-engined portfolio remains a key focus for the Company starting with Valhalla in 2022.
To turn around the Company’s performance, key priorities going forward are:
-Controlling production to prioritise demand over supply, to build a stronger order book and regain price positioning;
-Successfully launching DBX in Q2, which has received extremely positive media reviews and a rapidly building order book since opening in November 2019;
-Successfully relaunching Vantage including the Roadster derivative in the spring of 2020 and starting Aston Martin Valkyrie deliveries later in the year;
-Reducing the operating cost base by £10m on an annualised basis, with £7m in 2020, after one-off costs broadly offsetting expected cost increases due to the new St Athan plant; and
-Improving the cash flow profile of the business and transitioning towards a business generating positive free cash flow over the medium term.”
UPDATE: Following the news from London Stock Exchange, Red Bull confirmed the ending of its association with Aston Martin beyond the 2020 F1 date after Stroll bought the car maker. The statement from Red Bull stated:
“Red Bull Racing has agreed to release Aston Martin from its Formula One exclusivity clause which in turn has allowed it to generate the necessary investment required to re-finance and pursue alternative opportunities within the sport.
“Red Bull Advanced Technologies will continue to work with Aston Martin in order to deliver the Valkyrie hypercar, with the first cars scheduled for delivery at the end of the year. We thank Aston Martin for their support over the past four years in which time we have achieved 12 wins, 50 podiums and six pole positions together.
“We wish Aston Martin’s employees and shareholders all the best for the future and our focus remains on working together throughout the 2020 season and ending our partnership on a high.”
Here’s what the last report stated