One of the bidders to buy Silverstone from the British Racing Drivers Club may be about to pull out, according to media reports.
Lawrence Tomlinson, whose LNT Group owns Ginetta sports cars along with a number of additional international companies, has said that the lack of a response from the BRDC to his current bid is forcing him to reconsider whether to stay in the running.
“I have already extended the deadline on my offer a number of times but it’s getting to the point where it cannot be prolonged any longer,” he told Forbes business magazine this week.
“It’s getting to the point where it cannot be prolonged any longer and I’ve had to put a final deadline for entering exclusive discussions.
“To have any chance of saving the circuit, a deal realistically needs to be concluded by the end of the year so the due diligence would need to kick off immediately.
“This means that if I don’t hear back from the BRDC within days to confirm we are entering exclusivity, my offer will be withdrawn.”
A deal to sell Silverstone to Jaguar Land Rover for an estimated £33 million was announced in April, but the sale stalled after Porsche reportedly exercised a clause in its existing contract with the circuit to stop it being sold to a direct competitor.
The bidding process to buy Silverstone was reopened in August, with Tomlinson one of those putting in a formal bid. This week it’s been reported that a second bidder, Jonathan Palmer’s MSV Group which already owns four British circuits including Brand Hatch, has also officially tendered a proposal.
The BRDC says that it is being forced to sell the circuit because of a lack of funds, despite the sell-out success of this year’s British Grand Prix. Unlike many venues around the world, Silverstone receives no government financial support and has to rely purely on ticket sales for operating capital to fund upgrades and future development.
If the current sale process continues to stall, an alternative might be for the BRDC to remain as the landlord of the circuit and raise funds by allowing third parties to develop on the site.
The BRDC is due to hold its Annual General Meeting next week, although it’s believed unlikely that there will be although it is unlikely that there will be a formal vote on which approach or offer will be pursued.
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