City & Corporate: Williams F1 turns to Pelham

Listing Formula 1 team owner enlists Pelham Bell Pottinger for stock exchange float.

Motor racing team Williams F1 has appointed Pelham Bell Pottinger to handle financial and corporate comms around the launch of its initial public offering and listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Williams Grand Prix Holdings, owner of the AT&T Williams team, which makes and races Formula 1 cars, announced on 4 February its decision to float on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Pelham Bell Pottinger held a press conference on 9 February to announce the IPO and it is expected that shares will start trading in Frankfurt on 2 March after public offerings in Germany, the UK, Austria and Switzerland and a private placement for certain institutional investors.

The agency has been appointed to advise the company and oversee the initial transaction, as well as handle investor relations and corporate comms on an ongoing basis. The brief marks the first time Williams F1 has used an agency for financial and corporate PR.

Williams Grand Prix Holdings is seeking a listing to create a market for its shares and to secure a sustainable ownership structure for the group's future.

It is hoped the offering and the listing will position the group for the next stage of development, raise its profile and provide it with a more flexible structure.

Sir Frank Williams, founder and manager of the Williams F1 Formula One racing team, announced his decision at the end of January, saying it was 'prudent and necessary' to plan for an ownership structure that would enable Williams to be an independent constructor, owned and staffed by people committed to Formula 1.

No new capital needs to be raised and the offer will give existing shareholders the opportunity to monetise part of their holdings.

The Pelham Bell Pottinger team will be led by MD James Henderson and director Gavin Davis.

Pelham Bell Pottinger has a track record of working on transactions including IPOs and merger and acquisition activity, as well as providing general comms advice to businesses and brands.

Clients of the agency include Qatar Holding, TPG and Balfour Beatty.

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