Site logo

CVC "not pursuing" sale of F1 says Ecclestone

NEWS STORY
06/10/2014

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says that the sport's owner, the private equity firm CVC, is not actively looking at selling its controlling stake according to an article in the Daily Telegraph by Christian Sylt.

CVC is the single-biggest shareholder in F1 and holds a 35% stake. It invested in the sport in 2005 and, as Pitpass revealed in July, it has to sell up by 2018 at the latest. However, recent reports suggested that it has fast-tracked its plans.

CVC hoped to float F1 on the Singapore stock exchange in 2012 but the Eurozone crisis put the brakes on its plan. It stayed in the pits as the prospect of a bribery trial in Munich hung over Ecclestone. However, the clouds cleared in August when the trial was settled and the judge in Munich declared that "the charges could not, in important areas, be substantiated." It fuelled claims that CVC would accelerate its plans to sell its stake.

Just three days ago news agency Bloomberg claimed that CVC had revived plans for a flotation in the event that talks to sell the series fall apart. The most likely buyer is reportedly the team of Discovery, the media network which is famous for the nature channel it is named after, and Liberty Global, the owner of Virgin Media. The connection between the two is American billionaire John Malone as Liberty is his company and he also controls 29% of the voting power in Discovery.

Earlier this year Pitpass revealed that the duo had requested access to private information about F1's finances though a bid would almost certainly face competition hurdles which restrict media networks from owning sports. According to Ecclestone Malone is still interested regardless.

"I don't think anything has changed. I think Malone still wants to do something," he says. "It's incredible to me why people take so long to do something they say they want to do." Liberty may have even left it too late as he adds "I don't think CVC are going to pursue a sale actively. Not by the end of the year for sure."

The reason that Malone still has his sights on F1 is laid bare in the Telegraph article. It reveals that last year F1's profits accelerated past the 300m mark on revenue of 1bn driven by new sponsorship deals signed with Rolex and Emirates.

The results are disclosed in the accounts of F1's key operating companies for the year-ending 31 December 2013. They were released last week and for the first time include the revenue and profit of F1's lucrative corporate hospitality and trackside advertising divisions.

The two were founded in 1983 by Ecclestone and Paddy McNally, a former publicity manager for tobacco brand Marlboro. As both operations were based offshore they didn't need to file public accounts so their finances remained a mystery until now.

Last year CVC streamlined its structure and incorporated two new UK companies: Formula One Marketing and Formula One Hospitality and Event Services. They sell corporate hospitality tickets, trackside advertising and sponsorship of F1.

Their accounts show that corporate hospitality revenues rose by 0.4m to 52.2m last year despite the loss of the European Grand Prix taking the total tally of races to 19. Advertising and sponsorship got a bigger boost thanks to Rolex and Emirates becoming official partners of F1 in early 2013.

The deals fuelled a 31.7m increase in advertising and sponsorship revenue to 153.9m. The net profit from this and corporate hospitality came to a combined 142.4m with a further 3m coming from F1's two junior series GP2 and GP3.

The remainder of F1's revenue comes from race hosting fees and broadcasters and they flow into Luxembourg-based business Delta 2. As Pitpass revealed in April, its 2013 accounts show underlying profits of 169.9m on revenue of 772.5m. It brings F1's total turnover to 1bn with profits of 315.3m.

With profits like this it's no surprise that CVC might be keen to hold on to its investment. It has already banked 2.6bn from F1 which it bought in 2005 using 573.8m from its investment Fund IV and a 653.7 loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland. With F1 only just starting to embrace social media and new races in Russia, Mexico and Azerbaijan coming up it clearly has potential to generate even more money.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms