Formula One faces big shake-up after Liberty deal

Wed Sep 7, 2016 6:25pm EDT
 
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One faces its biggest shake-up in decades with the announcement on Wednesday that U.S. cable TV mogul John Malone's Liberty Media has agreed to take control of the cash-generating glamor sport.

The deal, which has an enterprise value of $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 U.S. 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 $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 remainder by the first quarter of 2017.

The statement added 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 Formula One'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.

"I see great opportunity to help Formula One continue to develop and prosper for the benefit of the sport, fans, teams and investors alike."   Continued...

 
Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone closes his eyes in Munich August 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo