Friday evening is a strange time for an F1 team to issue news, and even stranger was the preamble to tonight’s press release from Williams, which reads “NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, TO US PERSONS OR INTO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, OR INTO OR FROM CANADA, JAPAN OR AUSTRALIA.”
Somehow that sums up the complex world of high finance that Williams is jumping into by offering shares for sale on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The days of Sir Frank operating from a phone box on the corner have long gone…
It’s probably safest to let the team tell its own story:
“Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC (Williams) confirms its intention to launch its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Swiss-based Bank am Bellevue AG will act as sole global co-ordinator and sole global book runner.
“The offering will consist of up to 27.39% or 2,739,383 existing shares, with a nominal value of GBP 0.05 each, of which up to 330,000 shares will come from an over-allotment option. Sir Frank Williams will remain the majority and controlling shareholder of Williams and Team Principal of the AT&T Williams team.
“Bookbuilding is expected to begin on 9 February 2011 and is scheduled to conclude on or around 28 February 2011. The first day of trading on the Entry Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is expected on 2 March 2011. The bookbuilding price range and final placement price are expected to be published on or around 9 February 2011 and 28 February 2011 respectively.
“Williams operates one of the most successful teams in Formula One history. Founded in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head, the team has won nine Constructors’ and seven Drivers’ championships. Williams is also active in the areas of applying Formula One technology to a growing range of civil and industrial applications with the express aim of conserving energy, developing educational programmes and assisting international road safety initiatives.
“Williams has remained an independent constructor in Formula One since its inception over thirty years ago and its objective with the IPO is to secure a sustainable ownership structure for the future. The offering will be a unique opportunity for investors to be part of a global and ever developing industry.
“Swiss-based Bank am Bellevue will act as sole global co-ordinator and sole global bookrunner. Baader Bank will be joint lead manager and local bookrunner for Germany. Austrian GBR Financial Services and Online Brokers DAB (Germany) and Brokerjet (Austria) will be selling agents.
“The IPO will include a public offering in Germany, the UK, Austria and Switzerland and a private placement for institutional investors outside Germany, the UK, Austria and Switzerland, the United States of America, Canada, Japan and Australia.”
So there it is. Get your chequebooks out!