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Rediff.com  » Business » Mallya wants F1 glory, bids for Spyker

Mallya wants F1 glory, bids for Spyker

September 03, 2007 11:15 IST

Spyker's director of Formula One, Michiel Mol, has teamed up with Vijay Mallya to make a Euro  90 million  bid for the cash-strapped team.

 "This offer has been accepted by the board of Spyker Cars and exclusivity has been granted to the consortium Orange India Holdings to proceed with due diligence.to achieve completion within 30 days," the partners said in a joint statement late on Friday.

Strongwind, Mol's investment arm, and Watson Limited – owned by Mallya -- are making the offer. Spyker F1 is owned by Dutch sportscar maker Spyker Cars.

Spyker, founded in 2000, is reviewing its financing and strategy due to liquidity problems. It acquired the Formula One team from Midland for $106.6 million last year.

The team has had a history of money problems, although that could be in the past now. Midland owned the team before Spyker for two years before selling it. Before that, the team was called Jordan and run by Eddie Jordan.

Spyker posted a net loss of Euro 29.9 million in the first half of the year, up from a loss of  Euro  1.1 million in the year-ago period.

It has said it expects to make a loss this year. The Formula One team had a Euro 13 million loss.

Karun Chandhok, one of India's leading racers and currently racing in the GP2 series, could have a shot at a race seat. However, Narain Karthikeyan would probably be the frontrunner for a racing seat -- he has had one full season with Jordan F1 in 2005 and is currently a test driver with WilliamsF1.

If Mallya carries his Kingfisher brand into the team --  the airline already sponsors Toyota's factory F1 team --  the team could be called Kingfisher Ferrari, the latter being the current engine supplier.

The deal comes at an opportune time – Kingfisher is expanding its international operations. Leveraging F1's huge viewership across the globe could be the perfect vehicle to carry the brand abroad.

BS Reporter in Mumbai/Amsterdam
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