Grapevine: BSkyB Interested in F1 Stake Bid

Satellite TV company BSkyB has been approached by a consortium that plans to bid for the Formula One commercial rights, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday

The source added, however, that BSkyB had no immediate plans to get involved.

The Business newspaper reported that BSkyB chief executive James Murdoch had told the consortium of US and British private equity firms that he was open to playing a role in any F1 bid.

BSkyB declined to comment.

A bunch of predators is stalking F1 - which is 25 percent owned by the family trust of Bernie Ecclestone, and the remaining shares owned by banks JP Morgan, BayernLB and Lehman Brothers.

The Business said the consortium that approached BSkyB is one of six separate groups making approaches to buy all or part of the motor racing business, including Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Tom Group.

Tom said last month it was premature to say that it was in talks on a specific deal to buy the racing group but did not rule out any interest in the sport.

Separately, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Robin Saunders, formerly a high profile executive at German bank WestLB, was planning to buy the bank's 75% stake in F1 through her private equity company, which could not immediately be contacted.

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