F1 shake-up set with Liberty deal

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, September 9, 2016
Adjust font size:

Formula One faces its biggest shake-up in decades with the announcement on Wednesday that United States cable TV mogul John Malone's Liberty Media has agreed to take control of the cash-generating glamour sport.

The deal, which has an enterprise value of US$8 billion according to a company statement, heralds a new era for Formula One, a European-dominated sport that has long sought to break into the US market and win fresh audiences.

It could also accelerate the exit of 85-year-old Bernie Ecclestone, the Briton who has run the sport for nearly 40 years and built up a business with annual turnover of around US$1.9 billion.

Liberty Media said in a statement, which ended a long-running saga surrounding the sport's ownership and potential flotation, that it was acquiring an initial 18.7 percent stake from controlling shareholder CVC Capital Partners.

The company hopes to complete a deal for the rest by the first quarter of 2017.

The statement said that Chase Carey, the executive vice-chairman of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and a director of Sky News owner Sky Plc, will take over as chairman of the board of F1's parent company with Ecclestone remaining as CEO. "I greatly admire Formula One as a unique global sports entertainment franchise attracting hundreds of millions of fans each season from all around the world," Carey said.

Ecclestone added that he welcomed the company into the sport and looked forward to working with it.

The deal will be subject to the approval of the International Automobile Federation, or FIA, the governing body for F1 and other global motorsport series, and European anti-trust regulators.

Ecclestone has been the deal-maker, securing lucrative television contracts and hosting fees with countries such as Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan that are eager to feature on what is now a calendar with a record 21 races.

A controversial figure, ‘Bernie' has been a part of F1 ever since the 1950s. A former team owner, he secured the TV rights in the late 1970s and transformed the sport into one of the world's richest.

Malone's Liberty Global is the world's largest international TV and broadband company, operating in more than 30 countries. Liberty Media has interests in the Atlanta Braves baseball team, satellite radio service Sirius XM, entertainment group Live Nation and minority interests in Time Warner and Viacom.

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter