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$1bn for AlphaTauri "not commercially viable"

NEWS STORY
17/10/2023

David Dicker, the man behind Rodin Cars, whose F1 entry has been rejected by the FIA, scoffs at $1bn price tag on teams like AlphaTauri.

His bid rejected, Dicker, who acquired a majority stake in Carlin earlier this year, is still looking to enter the sport, but baulked at the asking prices currently being bandied around.

"Well, I did have some talks about buying AlphaTauri, but the price is commercially unviable as far as I could understand it," he tells Racer.

"You've still got to look at these things in commercial terms," he adds. "The F1 guys are experts on the motorsport side, but on the business side, I'm not so sure.

"I've had a few people talk about this and that, but nothing tremendously concrete. I do have a couple of things that I might get a bit more info on in the next week or two about some possibilities, but the value proposition is weak."

"I would buy a team if I thought there was a viable route," he admits, "but paying $800 - $900 million would probably not be considered commercially viable. But you know, just got to see if there's possibilities.

"I made a mistake when Williams was for sale because I could have bought that pretty easily," he reveals. "I didn't read the strategic landscape correctly on that with the way we made the bid, which in hindsight, was obviously a mistake. But there it goes.

"I had a lot of talks with Williams about buying Williams, saw all the numbers and sat through presentations and made them an offer and everything, and I've had a few guys talking about other teams from time to time. Mostly Sauber and Haas, which have more or less been on and off the market for years, and could have probably been bought for much lower numbers that made a lot more sense. Like I said, I probably screwed that up."

With the teams sticking to their guns, determined to profit from the valuations the sport's owners have placed on them, even though widely disputed, though disappointed at his bid to enter F1, Dicker hasn't given up entirely.

"I do have a project that I'm working on," he says. "It's interesting and exciting, but I can't talk about it quite yet, because I haven't quite got it. But let me put it this way, I'm pretty pissed off about not getting into Formula 1, so I'm not just going to go away and sulk.

"That's just the way I am. I mean, you want to do things, and that's what life's about. You just try to do them. And if you can't do it one way, then look for another way, or other ways, of doing things."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 17/10/2023 17:29

"It takes a large fortune to make a small fortune in motorsports."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 17/10/2023 8:31

"According to published comments some time back re 'cost caps' it was said that not all teams use the same financial modelling therefore establishing a different method of arriving at a comparable ROI. The product sold is non material, totally relateable to selling an 'entertainment experience' [ eg a cinema visit or a ball game match ] therefore tangible profits can and are effected by non normal business trading related events. Politics, weather et al. There is an inherent risk for investors in such a volatile business. That would reflect in values being placed on any acquisition/sale. Dicker would have seen that given the massive amount asked for AT they would struggle to make it work however it appears that BE has still got more than enough to buy back in....c'mon Bernie!"

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 17/10/2023 7:46

"Not "commercially" viable, but maybe an enjoyable vanity project for one of the billionaires of the new feudalism?
This is small change to many of these "titans of capitalism" & could probably be written-off against tax or some such accountancy ploy so that it would end up as a profit-centre!
"

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4. Posted by Defiant, 17/10/2023 3:43

"It's hard to disagree with any of this. The first paragraph really does say enough though. 1B is ridiculous."

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 16/10/2023 19:22

"Income and revenue doesn't equate to profit and even though there is a budget cap the ferocious apetite of F1 teams to chew through funds means as James Vowles was saying at the last grand prix, most of the teams are currently not profitable.
Therefore, the value of a lower midfield team to be a reported $1B USD, doesn't make sense, well not commercially at least.
There may well be a billionaire out there that is bonkers enough with a huge ego willing to cough serious dosh, however most of those folks aren't so crazy as to pour money down the drain and not get a return in terms of financial results and sporting results too.
Launching rockets into space seems more their vibe.
Also, in the past the shareholders and unions of auto manufacturers have been known to question the value of racing and in particular formula one, particularly if there are financial losses or layoffs on the cards.
All this adds up to it being rather tricky to see how something that doesn't earn much of a return and doesn't have top three results is valued so highly.
Then again, as Max Noble says, the price is what someone is willing to pay.

"

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6. Posted by Dirt, 16/10/2023 18:04

"One assumes the valuations are so high because there's a guaranteed income stream from the current commercial structure. One which likely makes even the last place team profitable (to wit, the pushback on accepting new teams which would reduce those income streams.). How long will those streams last? That's the $64k ($64B?) question. Perhaps not long as it feels like Liberty has the goose on the operating table looking for more and more gold."

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7. Posted by Max Noble, 16/10/2023 13:23

"Any item is only worth what the market is willing to pay… Star Wars X-wing model for $3M anyone…? Funny old life…
"

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