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.

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