Billionaire John Malone May Become Formula 1 Owner

The Liberty Media Corporation of American media tycoon John Malone may soon buy a stake in Formula One Group, which owns the Formula 1 racing business, for $ 8.5 billion. This was reported by the German industry magazine Auto, Motor und Sport. Formula One Management CEO Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the deal could take place next week. The American company is expected to transfer the first tranche on Tuesday, the magazine writes.

Part of the package is sold not only by the main shareholder of Formula One Management, the investment fund CVC Capitals, but also by “other shareholders”, note Auto, Motor und Sport and Spiegel Online, without naming specific names. Now CVC Capitals owns 35.1% in the Formula 1 business, from the management company Waddell & Reed – 20.9%, in addition, 8.5% belong to the Ecclestone family trust Bambino Holdings (of which 5.3% – personally to Bernie Ecclestone) …

At the same time, as Ecclestone disclosed in the fall of 2015 in an interview with Vedomosti, if the stake is sold by CVC Capitals, he will also have to sell his stake. “These packages [CVC Capitals и Bambino Holdings] somehow connected. My trust cannot sell my shares without CVC, ”the CEO of Formula One Management said at the time.

Malone, 75, is the primary owner of Liberty Media Corporation, with assets in the media, communications and entertainment businesses. Among them – 34% of Live Nation, which organizes concerts and entertainment events around the world (was responsible for the Russian tours of Madonna, Shakira, Lady Gaga, U2), professional baseball club Atlanta Braves, operator of satellite radio networks Sirius XM Holdings. Malone, with a fortune of $ 5.4 billion, is ranked 184th in the global Forbes ranking.

Malone began negotiations with CVC Capitals to buy their stake in Formula 1 in early 2014, the Financial Times (FT) wrote, citing sources. A year and a half later, the same publication reported on the interest in auto racing from the American RSE Ventures, which together with the Qatar-based fund Qatar Sports Investments plan to acquire 35.5% of Formula One Group shares from CVC Capital Partners. Then, according to FT, the share of the investment fund was estimated at $ 7-8 billion.

If the current deal with Liberty Media goes through, it will take place in two stages, while the fate of Ecclestone himself is uncertain, notes Auto, Motor und Sport. The 86-year-old Briton, who has headed Formula 1 since the late 70s, will remain in the company only for a transitional period, the newspaper writes, and in the future he may be replaced by the head of the Formula E series, Alejandro Agag.

In addition, if Malone becomes the owner of Formula 1, he intends to give new impetus to the development of the company and actively promote the competition in the United States. Also, the corporation may conduct an initial public offering of Formula 1 shares on the stock exchange in New York, notes Auto, Motor und Sport.

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