Carmakers Seek to Buy Third of Ecclestone's F1 Holding

Five carmakers, including Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and Toyota, are in talks to buy a third of Bernie Ecclestone's SLEC Formula One business, the Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.

Carmakers Seek to Buy Third of Ecclestone's F1 Holding

Five carmakers, including Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and Toyota, are in talks to buy a third of Bernie Ecclestone's SLEC Formula One business, the Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.

It quoted unidentified industry sources as speculating the deal, still in early stages of discussion, could value SLEC at as much as $6 billion.

The carmakers were also believed to be in talks to buy a stake in SLEC from EM.TV, the German media company that bought 50 percent of the business last March, the newspaper said.

The Telegraph said that if the carmakers bought the stake in Formula One, it should help secure the continuing involvement of the Formula One motor racing teams as the carmakers would most likely be unwilling to sell engines to a rival Formula One-style motor racing circuit.

Motor racing teams were believed to be unhappy with the proportion of the money paid for television rights, it said.

Nicky Samengo Turner, head of Cambridge Capital Partners - an investment banking boutique specialising in the motor industry - was quoted as saying: "The important issue is, will the teams go along with signing the new TV rights agreement?"

On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that leading carmakers were to support the launch of a new World Rally Championship following the sale of media rights to rallying by Ecclestone.

Sale of the rights formed part of an imminent deal between motor sport's governing body, the FIA, and Mario Monti, European Union commissioner for competition, to end a dispute over broadcasting arrangements for motor sport, the newspaper said.

The FIA has been locked in a four-year dispute with the European Commission over possible breaches of anti-trust rules in broadcasting rights arrangements between the governing body and Ecclestone.

The Commission said in May that it had made good progress in its talks with the FIA, which it said had made innovative and constructive proposals.

The dispute with the EU has held up Ecclestone's plans to float Fomula One.

The Financial Times said the new World Rallying Championship move was backed by Ford, Toyota, Subaru, Peugeot and other car makers which use rallying as a key part of their marketing.

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