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Wolff sells part of his stake in Williams

2014-06-20 18:00

'IMPORTANT TO DAIMLER': Wolff was executive director at Williams but left in January 2013 to take up his new role at rivals Mercedes.Image: AFP

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff has sold a 5% stake in the Williams Formula 1 team to American healthcare executive Brad Hollinger.

Hollinger, the chairman and chief executive of Vibra Healthcare, also has an option to buy more of Wolff's remaining 10% holding.

Wolff told reporters at the 2014 Austrian GP: "It was always the plan to reduce the shareholding in Williams towards a level that is clearly a financial investment.


"This was important to Daimler for conflict of interest reasons and for compliance reasons. But it was quite a task to find somebody who was good for the company, who was good for the family, and who had the spirit I had when I joined Williams as a financial investor."

Wolff was executive director at Williams, where his wife Susie is a development driver, but left in January 2013 to take up his new role at rivals Mercedes, the dominant team in F1 in 2014.

He gave a commitment at the time to Mercedes that he would sell his shares, but only once he had found a purchaser acceptable to Williams.

Wolff said: "I cannot just go into the market and say 'who wants to buy these shares?' and that's it. If I sell, I have to find somebody who is responsible enough, who is coming in for the sport, who understands how the team functions."


Williams were listed on the Entry Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in a March 2011 public offering of around 21of the existing shares. Wolff has been a shareholder since 2009.

Team founder Frank Williams remains the majority shareholder with a controlling interest in the British-based team with co-founder Patrick Head having a 9% stake.

The BBC quoted deputy team principal Claire Williams as saying her father had "no interest in further diluting his existing shareholding".

The autosport.com website quoted Hollinger as saying he felt F1, which has a successful grand prix in Austin, Texas, and would like a second race in the United States, was "right on the cusp of another explosive growth path".

"The whole social media element is an opportunity that F1 can really tap in to and accelerate even mor. I think it will create an opening for the US market and I would like to be involved in that process as well."

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