The Nurburgring has once again been making headlines today all over Germany and the rest of the world. There are two separate, but related headlines bouncing around right now.
Firstly, respected German business journal Wirtschafts Woche (Business Week) is reporting the collapse of Capricorn's finance deal with Deutsche Bank. The liquidators have officially refuted the story, but sceptics and opponents of Capricorn all insist there's no smoke without fire. While Deutsche Bank and Capricorn are sticking with the "no comment" angle, would-be buyers of the 'Ring HIG and Nexovation both confirmed that their offers still stands.
Which leads us to the EU headline. Brussels today declared that the €1.2 billion of state aid given to the Nürburgring was actually illegal. That means the three companies who received the payments must pay back the remaining balance (around €700 million according to the press release). Of course, those three companies are now insolvent, so, correct us if we're wrong, but it would appear to be a useless order. The money is gone.
What's not useless is that in the same hearing the EU commission decided that the sale process of the 'Ring to Capricorn was fair, transparent and at market value. Therefore Capricorn, or any other buyer, will definitely not be liable for any of the illegal state aid spent over the years. Bad news for taxpayers wanting their money back, but good news for fans of the Nurburgring.