Liberty Media faces competition for sale of Formula 1

The sale of Formula 1 to Liberty Media Corporation is not yet guaranteed because the group still faces competition from other interested parties, Autosport understands

Liberty Media faces competition for sale of Formula 1

Speculation on Sunday ahead of the Italian Grand Prix suggested F1's current majority shareholder private equity company CVC Capital Partners was poised to end its 10-year involvement by selling its 35.5% stake, with a deal possible as soon as Tuesday.

But sources suggest negotiations will go on longer, not least because there remain two other potential buyers still in the running.

Liberty Media, run by multi-billionaire media mogul John Malone, who owns the Atlanta Braves in Major League Baseball and is also the largest landowner in the United States, is the frontrunner.

DIETER RENCKEN: What would Liberty dollars mean for F1?

But CVC is also understood to still be negotiating with RSE Ventures, an investment firm run by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who is working in tandem with a Qatari consortium, and another as yet unnamed private equity firm.

The price tag is believed to be somewhere in the region of $8.4billion (£6.31bn), which would represent a profit of $6.4bn on CVC's original outlay in 2006.

Though there has long been speculation over CVC's future in F1, this is the closest it has been to a full or partial exit.

The belief is CVC would be willing to accept a downpayment, in the region of $5billion, for an initial 20% stake, with an option for any buyer to purchase the remaining shareholding.

The situation is further clouded by the fact another of F1's shareholders in Norge, the world's largest sovereign wealth fund based in Norway, is also looking to sell up.

At present CVC is the largest shareholder, with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone holding a 5.3% stake, while the 85-year-old's Bambino family trust has a further 8.5%.

The other shareholders are investment management company Blackrock and US fund manager Waddell & Reed.

It is believed CVC is taking strict control of sale talks without too much influence from Ecclestone - who still spent time in the Monza paddock speaking to CVC co-owner Donald Mackenzie, Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne and Daimler head Dieter Zetsche.

While it is possible Ecclestone could be ousted as he is effectively only an employee of CVC under the current arrangement, the belief is he would remain for at least a handover period given his level of influence over and connections in F1.

It has been suggested Chase Carey, executive vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox and a former business partner of Malone, would become F1's new chairman.

Current Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag has also been linked with a possible role, potentially as Ecclestone's successor at chief executive level, along with Zak Brown, another American businessman and motorsport enthusiast.

shares
comments
Pressure got to Gutierrez in Italian GP, says Haas F1 boss Steiner
Previous article

Pressure got to Gutierrez in Italian GP, says Haas F1 boss Steiner

Next article

Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes F1 start problems not a quick fix

Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes F1 start problems not a quick fix
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022