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Ecclestone: F1 could be sold this year

NEWS STORY
06/10/2015

With three potential buyers, Bernie Ecclestone claims the sport could be sold this year.

In an interview with Associated Press, when asked about the prospect of F1 being sold, the sport's supremo admitted: "I think so, maybe this year.

"There are three people mentioned to buy. So it's a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell," he added.

CVC owns a 35% stake in the sport, down on its original 63.4% stake, having sold off slices to investment companies, Waddell & Reed, now the second biggest shareholder, BlackRock and Norges Bank.

CVC bought its stake in 2006 with two loans and in that time has reaped around $4.4bn from the sport. According to a report in the Guardian in July, this means a return on investment 351.8% and with its remaining 35% stake controls the voting rights of F1's Jersey-based parent company, Delta Topco. This gives the stake a valuation of up to $8bn and if CVC achieves that price, it will push return on investment to over 1,000%, making it the most profitable deal in the company's 34-year history.

Asked if he is one of the three potential buyers, Ecclestone, who now owns a 5.3% stake in the sport, but has admitted in being interested in buying it back would only say: "We'll see".

One of the potential buyers is likely to be RSE Ventures owner Stephen Ross, who also owns the Miami Dolphins, he, in turn has been working with Qatar Sports Investments, which, among other things, owns French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain.

"There has been a lot of interest," said Ecclestone. "I am surprised if one of them doesn’t buy very shortly."

The 84-year-old stressed he is "very happy with the shareholders at the moment" and has no plans to retire, far from it.

"The people that I've spoken to, the people who are interested in buying the shares, have asked me if I would stay," he said, revealing that his answer was "Yes".

The big question being, of course, why is Ecclestone making this public at this time?

Haven't we heard previous tales of Red Bull looking to buy F1?

Is someone's hand being forced by Bernie's revelation?

And is it coincidence that CVC might be looking to sell just as the EU looks to investigate the sport?

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 08/10/2015 14:01

"The fact is that Bernie, CVC nor anyone else can buy nor sell Formula 1. What's on offer are the RIGHTS to promote F1 and to sell coverage of the races to various media.

The subsidiary fact is that Bernie has convinced everyone: punters, Teams and FIA that he owns the whole of what was once a Sport, not a business."

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2. Posted by Paul C, 08/10/2015 5:23

"Sell F1 to the France family and ISC, the leaders of NASCAR. F1 has to be all about racing and not about the celebs in the hospitality parties."

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3. Posted by The stogie, 08/10/2015 0:32

"With all that money being made maybe, just maybe, they could subsidize the British and Italian races and have a little left over for Spa? The sand box races attended by thousands disguised as empty seats are not what potential team sponsors are looking for."

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4. Posted by Celtictiger, 07/10/2015 17:04

"I suppose BE makes everyone too much money for them to let him go. Other investors see how much money CVC is raking in and want in on that, understandably. Bernie needs to either retire or pass away, to be frank, for F1 to move into any other direction from what its currently on."

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5. Posted by Yeyox02, 06/10/2015 23:47

"Formula 1 needs to get rid of Ecclestone because if he remains as a shareholder or as a decision maker the situation will not change."

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