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Ecclestone laughs off buy-out talk

NEWS STORY
07/05/2011

Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed talk of a buy-out of the sport's commercial rights in his own inimitable style.

First there was Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, in association with Carlos Slim and an unnamed car manufacturer, thinking of making a bid. Then there was talk of Italian investment giant Exor, which has links to Ferrari, joining forces with Murdoch. Then came Martin Whitmarsh's admission that the teams were in the market.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul today, Ecclestone laughed off the speculation, describing it as part of the ritual "foreplay" ahead of discussions to construct a new Concorde Agreement.

"There have been enough times people have wanted to do a breakaway and they haven't succeeded up until now," he said. "We've had five or six 'Concorde Agreements' and there are always these sort of discussions going on beforehand. It's normal foreplay before these things happen."

Asked about the team's apparent desire to take control of the sport, he smiled and said: "They'll have to approach the people that own the shares and buy the shares won't they? That's what normally happens.

"I normally go to a restaurant in London two or three times a week," he continued, "but there's not a lot of point in me going and saying to the owners that I want a share of the restaurant just because I eat there.

"These people are going to look bloody stupid with all their trucks and their uniforms if they've got nowhere to race," he scoffed. "It's the same if I go to the restaurant and they've got no food to serve me."

The 80-year-old also took a swipe at Rupert Murdoch and his desire to buy-up the 61% of shares in BSkyB that he doesn't already own.

"They've been doing that for three years, so they've got plenty of practice of doing things and not succeeding," he laughed. "Trying and doing are two different things."

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