[UPDATE 2] Laura Conrad, PR Manager at McLaren, has told us: "McLaren Group is aware of a news media report stating it has been sold to Audi. This is wholly inaccurate and McLaren is seeking to have the story removed. McLaren’s technology strategy has always involved ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other carmakers, however, there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group."
The same statement has since been published on the company's website.
[UPDATE] Contacted by Motor1.com, Mark Dahncke, Director of Communications at Audi of America, said: "No information at this time."
Our lazy Sunday was interrupted when Automotive News' sister site Automobilwoche published an article in which it claimed McLaren would be sold and split into two. According to the German magazine's report, the plan consisted of BMW buying the road car division, with Audi purchasing the motorsport branch to take control of the Formula 1 team.
However, a BMW spokesperson was quick to refute that rumor in an interview with Bloomberg, while an Audi representative only said the Ingolstadt-based marque "routinely considers various ideas for cooperation" as part of its "strategic deliberations." There still could be some truth in the original reporting from Automobilwoche as Autocar claims Audi is buying the entire McLaren Group.
Gallery: 2022 McLaren Artura
For those unfamiliar with the corporate side of McLaren, Mumtalakat owns 62.55 percent of the shares, meaning it effectively controls the supercar brand and the increasingly competitive F1 team. According to the official website, the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company represents the sovereign wealth fund of the government of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Autocar reports the first offer made by the Volkswagen Group through the Four Rings was refused as the board of directors and McLaren executive chairman Paul Walsh wanted double the amount. The two parties eventually reached an understanding, and the unspecified source mentioned by the British magazine says McLaren will indeed be changing hands soon.
While McLaren hasn't responded to Autocar's inquiry at the moment of writing, an Audi spokesperson did not want to comment on the delicate matter. We will update the article when and if we hear back from either company.
Provided the deal is actually happening, it will pave the way for the VW Group to enter F1 following a lengthy period of discussions for a potential 2026 entry when the engine will be overhauled once again. Perhaps more interesting is how the road-going side of McLaren will be positioned within the family seeing as how the hierarchy is already quite complicated what with Porsche, Lamborghini, and the newly formed Bugatti Rimac.
As a final note, it should be mentioned McLaren's CEO Mike Flewitt announced his departure at the end of last month. In addition, the Woking-based marque is cash-strapped considering it had to sell and lease back its headquarters. That said, it's too early to tell whether these facts have anything to do with Audi buying the McLaren Group, especially since the deal has not been officially confirmed yet.