A lot has been going on behind the scenes at McLaren and slowly details of the dealings are starting to emerge.
In September, the Financial Times reported that Apple [NSDQ:AAPL] was in talks with the McLaren Technology Group about a possible takeover. The McLaren Technology Group is a private consortium co-founded by Ron Dennis in the 1980s and responsible for the McLaren Formula One team as well as the McLaren road car business.
Speaking with Reuters, Mike Flewitt, who heads the McLaren road car business, confirmed that talks with Apple did take place but said there was no takeover bid.
“There wasn't a bid from Apple,” he said. “They visited. We talked. We talked about what they did. We talked about what we did. They toured. It never matured to a definitive proposition.”
That doesn’t mean there weren’t bids from other parties.
Flewitt also told Reuters that there had been a “number of bids” for the McLaren Technology Group but that the majority of shareholders were against selling. Ron Dennis controls 25 percent of the company, while the Mansour Ojjeh-led TAG Group controls another 25 percent and the Bahrain government’s Mumtalakat investment fund the remaining 50 percent.
Sky News in November reported that Dennis was backing a Chinese takeover bid worth £1.65 billion (approximately $2.05 billion) but was opposed by the other shareholders. Days after the report was published, the McLaren Technology Group confirmed that Dennis, at the request of the other shareholders, had been placed on gardening leave until his current contract expires at the end of 2016. Dennis had been the CEO and Chairman of the company.
Despite his ouster from the top role, Dennis in a statement said he planned to use his stake in the company and his seat on the board to continue to help steer the McLaren Technology Group in a positive direction.