McLaren Confirms Talks With Apple
No deal was made as British company continues to deal with the contentious exit of Ron Dennisby Kirby, on
After initially denying that any such talks occurred last September, McLaren has done an about-face and admitted that it did have discussions with tech giant Apple over a possible partnership between the two brands. No less than McLaren chairman Mike Flewitt made the revelation to Reuters, saying that Apple “visited” and the two companies talked about what each other did in their respective line of work.
Unfortunately, the talks amounted to nothing, or as Flewitt said, “it never matured to a definitive proposition.”
What Flewitt meant by “definitive proposition” wasn’t made clear and could lead to a flurry of speculation surrounding the British automaker. McLaren is already in the headlines over the very public ousting of former chairman and company forefather Ron Dennis. The controversy rocking McLaren’s ownership status centers on the rift that developed between Dennis and fellow shareholders, namely Mansour Ojjeh and the Bahraini investment fund Mumtalakat. According to Reuters, the tipping point that led to the ouster of Dennis came when Ojjeh and Mumtalakat rejected a takeover bid from Chinese investors.
For his part, Flewitt didn’t dive into the details of the management dispute, although he did say that there have been a number of bids from several parties about purchasing the company, but Ojjeh and the Bahrainis were “committed to keeping the current shareholding in place.”
Based on Flewitt’s comments and Dennis’ own statement after his exit from McLaren, the former McLaren chairman appears to have at least been in favor of new investors joining the company and that Ojjeh and Mumtalakat were dead set against it, opting instead to retain ownership of the company. With Dennis now gone from McLaren, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Apple come into the picture with a takeover bid, although a partnership may still be in the cards.
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A lot has been going on over in Woking
Say what you will about the success McLaren’s auto division is having these days, but things couldn’t be more different behind the scenes with all the disputes going on between the company’s biggest players. Now that Ron Dennis is out of the picture, it’s going to be very interesting to see how McLaren moves forward, not only with its auto division, but also its motorsports and technological businesses.
At the very least, you can expect some big changes to the company now that the man credited in guiding to prominence is no longer around. One particular change that could manifest itself quickly is how McLaren approaches future partnerships or investment opportunities down the road. The company, through majority shareholders Mansour Ojjeh and Mumtalakat, have made it clear that they have no plans to sell of their shares so that’s one road that’s likely to have closed now that Dennis is no longer in the fray.
The question now is could a company like Apple still get a partnership deal with the “new” McLaren? Better yet, is Apple still considering a partnership with a company that’s likely still in a state of flux? What about other potential partners? Could the board battle within McLaren cool their perceived interests?
Those answers will likely be answered over time as McLaren reshapes its management roster. For now though, it’s good to know that those talks with Apple that were reported back in September did happen and here’s to hoping that those talks will continue down the road. Admit it, a partnership between McLaren and Apple is intriguing, to say the least.