Brand building?

There are whispers in the architectural world that McLaren may be on the verge of moving into the construction and design business with the suggestion being that Bahrain's Mumtalakat Holding Company - McLaren's new partner - might buy Lord Foster's share of his Foster and Partners company and rebrand it with the McLaren name. Foster is 71 and does not intend to retire but is keen to get his money out of the business and recently asked Catalyst, a corporate finance house, to find buyers.

Foster and Partners has been hugely successful in recent years with its dramatic, cutting edge designs all over the world. Construction is big business in the Middle East and such an acquisition would place Bahrain at the forefront of construction design in the region. Foster's designs such as 30 St Mary Axe, nicknamed "The Gherkin", in London will go down well in the Middle East and he knows McLaren well as he was the man who built the Technology Centre in Woking.

At the same time it is a good way for McLaren to use its cutting edge image to expand the brand into a new industry.

If the money is there, it sounds like a win-win situation.

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