British supercar firm McLaren is mulling a public listing in a bid to raise cash in order to shore up its finances after taking a battering from the coronavirus pandemic.
The carmaker is looking to raise up to £500m over the next 12 months, and is considering going public via a deal with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) as one of the ways it could do so, the FT reported.
Spacs, blank-cheque companies used specifically to take firms public through reverse mergers, have become one of the most popular routes to market in the last couple of years.
The Woking-headquartered firm is also considering selling a minority stake in its racing arm, it was reported.
The drive to raise new equity comes after a year in which McLaren saw sales fall more than 60 per cent, while its pre-tax loss increased to £312.9m.
As a result of the pandemic, the firm was forced to lay off a quarter of its staff over the summer and seek emergency funding to see it through the pandemic.
It is also continuing with the sale-and-leaseback of its iconic headquarters in Woking, which would help to reduce the amount it needed to raise.
Speaking to the FT, McLaren automotive chief exec Mike Flewitt said that the company would undergo a radical change as a result of the pandemic.
“We need to restructure the total business,” he said. “We went into this year having two very successful years in automotive, but the total business did not have the liquidity to survive this kind of crisis.”
In terms of raising new equity, he said that McLaren was in talks with various parties – including one US-based Spac – and was “not ruling anyone out”.
“We will look for investors who have a common vision to our shareholder base, both in terms of the structure, direction of the company, and medium-term plans,” Flewitt said.
He added that floating through a Spac was not out of the question, but that McLaren’s investors would decide on any new shareholders.