Finance

Ex-McLaren boss Ron Dennis sells his £275m shares in the British car brand

Ron Dennis’ four-decade association with McLaren is over after he stood down as chairman of the British team on Friday by handing over his £275 million stake in the brand.

The former F1 team boss was placed on garden leave last November after losing a boardroom battle with fellow board members.

And on Friday it was announced that Dennis has sold his 25 per cent share in the McLaren Technology Group and 11 per cent stake in McLaren Automotive, officially bringing to an end a 37 year relationship with the Woking-based constructor.

The British supercar manufacturer confirmed that the two divisions would now join under one banner called McLaren Group, which is valued at £2.4 billion.

‘Thank you, Ron’: Former F1 boss and McLaren chairman Ron Dennis has parted with the British brand after a 37-year relationship

Mr Dennis, who turned 70 earlier this month, was awarded a CBE in 2000.

He will be best remembered for his no-nonsense push to rekindle the success of the struggling McLaren F1 team in the 1980s, taking world titles with Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton during his reign.

In 2010, he oversaw the formation of McLaren Automotive, now one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance sports cars.

But despite the championship victories and blossoming car making business, Mr Dennis’ relationship with the McLaren Group turned sour during a fall out with fellow board members in 2014.

After after a failed buyout attempt due to insufficient funds, the automotive brand dramatically forced him out as McLaren’s chairman and chief executive at the conclusion of the bitter power struggle.

Today’s announcement is the final nail the his departure as he relinquished his remaining stake in the company.

A bitter power struggle between Dennis and his fellow members of the board ignited in 2014, with him being put on garden leave last year Ron Dennis had a huge part to play in the career of Lewis Hamilton when he signed him as part of a young driver development programme at the age of 12

In an official statement, Ron Dennis said: ‘I am very pleased to have reached agreement with my fellow McLaren shareholders. It represents a fitting end to my time at McLaren, and will enable me to focus on my other interests.

‘I have always said that my 37 years at Woking should be considered as a chapter in the McLaren book, and I wish McLaren every success as it takes the story forward.’

He added: ‘I will continue to consult for various companies and work with the UK Government’s Ministry of Defence Innovation Advisory Panel in helping to improve the technology, the culture and the organisations that together safeguard the UK’s national security.’

In 1980, Ron merged Team McLaren with his own company, Project Four, to form McLaren International, then valued at £3 million. He spearheaded the development of the firm’s headquarters in Woking, regarded as one of the most high-tech facilities in the car world Dennis will continue to work with the UK Government’s Ministory of Defence now that he’s parted ways with McLaren

The Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and the TAG Group will remain as the long-term majority shareholders of the new group and Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa will become its executive chairman.

‘I would like to pay tribute to Ron’s immense contribution to the McLaren success story over the past 37 years,’ the new chairman added.

‘There will be time in the near future to outline our plans, for the coming months and years will be an extremely exciting time in the story of McLaren.

‘But now, today, it is appropriate that we pause to express our gratitude to Ron. So, on behalf of McLaren and all who sail in her, may I say three heartfelt words: thank you Ron.’

Ron Dennis received his CBE from the Queen on Tuesday 10 October 2000 Dennis (left) shows then British Prime Minister David Cameron the new McLaren Automotive production line during in 2011 Ron Dennis (left) pictured at the launch of the McLaren P1 hypercar at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show

Yesterday (Thursday), the British luxury supercar maker confirmed a fourth consecutive year of profitability boosted by record global vehicle sales.

The Woking-based car maker sold a record 3,286 cars last year, almost double the number it sold in 2015.

Pre-tax profits at McLaren moved up a few gears to £9.2million in 2016 – 41 per cent higher than the £5.4million reported the previous year.

In 2016, tech giant Apple was strongly linked to a buyout of the Mclaren business, with reports that it was looking to acquire its technology division to enhance its own development of driverless cars.

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