The latest mind blowing rumour to come out of Italy yesterday. Ferrari would be sold using a group of investor, and this question was put to Sergio Marchionne, boss of Ferrari and Fiat / Chrysler at the Detroit Motor show.
The rumour alludes that the 65-year-old Fiat / Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to take over Ferrari with investors.
Marchionne is currently in the USA at the Detroit Motor show in his dual role as the head of the Fiat / Chrysler group and as Ferrari president. During the discussions, the Marchionne had confirmed last year that he will stop at the end of 2018 as head of Fiat / Chrysler, but he also said that he would like to retain the post of Ferrari president.
In Italy, the retention of Ferrari has generated some whispers saying that Marchionne not only wants to run the company Ferrari, but they take over together with investors for a mooted $20 billion.
During an interview in Detroit, the Italian – Canadian man was quick to dismiss the speculation saying “Who puts such stories into circulation? That’s nonsense! Calculate that Ferrari is worth 20 billion on the stock market, so at what price would I have to buy the company? We are talking about 30 billion dollars. I’m an optimist, but I have to buy a lottery ticket for that.
We prefer to win the Formula 1 World Championship and make a lot of money with Ferrari.”
But is this a classic case of ‘no smoke without fire’? Certainly Ferrari is very profitable and would make a hugely attractive investment for a group seeking a takeover.
Having competed a financially strong first half of 2017, the company reported an increase of 17 % to 1.48 billion euros compared to the first half of 2016. Net profit climbed 49 percent to 260 million euros.
Couple that with the ambition of Marchionne and a proven track record of success after 15 years with Fiat. He re-floated the ailing car brand Fiat, allied Fiat with Chrysler, re-launched Ferrari brand and is currently the looking into modernising Alfa Romeo. The involvement in Formula 1 as the title sponsor of Sauber is part an obvious part of that process. Would the next step be to partition off Ferrari as a stand alone brand?
When asked about the 2018 Formula 1 season and what the Tifosi could expect to see, Marchionne continued to keep everyone second guessing saying:
“I was only in Maranello a few days ago, the boys work in peace, almost too quiet for my taste. I have to conclude: Either we have a top-class vintage of wine or a bowl of porridge! ”