Williams considering stock market flotation 21 Jan 2011
Williams are contemplating offering shares in the team to the public, it was confirmed on Friday. The move is being considered as part of a strategy to safeguard Williams long-term future as an independent constructor. Team boss and founder Frank Williams would remain the majority shareholder.
"For some years I have been considering how to secure the long-term ownership of Williams such that it will remain true to the aims with which (director of engineering) Patrick (Head) and I established the team back in 1977, said Williams.
I have concluded that the option which will best achieve this is to broaden our shareholder base with public shareholders, while having a stable core of long-term investors closely involved in the running of the team. This will ensure stability, good governance and will, I believe, enable us to attract and retain the best people and partners.
Patrick, (non-executive director) Toto (Wolff) and I are therefore examining this option closely and, if the environment is propitious, we may act in the near future. Regardless of whatever steps we take, I shall remain the majority and controlling shareholder and the Team Principal of AT&T Williams."
Williams intends to remain at the helm for the foreseeable future, having keenly protected the independent status of his team since entering the sport almost 35 years ago.
My goal then was to race in Formula One as an independent Constructor, said Williams. This was and is my great passion and I will race for as long as I continue to be blessed with good health.
It is also my desire that the team is in good shape to go on racing long after I am gone. To that end, it is prudent and necessary to plan for an ownership structure that will enable Williams to be an independent Constructor, owned and staffed by people committed to Formula One and to the sound business practices which have supported us over three decades.
Williams chairman Adam Parr was quick to quash any speculation that the move might signify poor health on the part of his boss, stressing that Williams has no plans to step down.
Retirement is categorically not on Franks agenda, said Parr. Anyone who knows Frank knows this. Franks health is absolutely fine.
The team have yet to reveal any timetable for a potential flotation.