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
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021