JANUARY 13, 2002
Are these the men behind Prost Grand Prix?
THE word on the street in France is that the group of investors which may be coming to the aid of Alain Prost will include the Michelin family, which control the Michelin tire company. The Michelins are amongst the wealthiest families in France and it would not be the first time that they have come to the aid of their customers. Back in the 1930s, for example, Andre Citroen was going out of business and the Michelins came to his rescue, taking a sizeable shareholding in the company from which, in the fullness of time, they made a very considerable profit.
The other company which we have heard being linked to the deal is the Louis Dreyfus Group. This international trading group is still wholly-owned by the Louis-Dreyfus Family and is involved in distribution, agriculture, commodity trading, real estate, power and fashion (owning Polo Ralph Lauren) and has particularly strong links with South America. The group is headed by Gerard Louis-Dreyfus and is headquartered in Paris and New York. The family is estimated to be worth $2.3bn.
The money involved in the purchase of Prost is tiny when one considers the kind of money that these families have access to so if these are really the companies involved money (and sponsorship to follow) are really not a problem. Prost Grand Prix may not have been very successful but when one sees the sources of income that Prost has tapped in recent years these are two of the biggest names which he has yet to get involved in his team.
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