Formula One boss Ecclestone flags own value to business

Thu Nov 7, 2013 9:27am EST
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By Keith Weir

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone said much of the motor sport's value before the sale of a major stake to private equity group CVC was down to his running of the business.

Defending a damages claim of more than $100 million brought by German media firm Constantin Medien over that deal, Ecclestone told London's High Court on Thursday that he remained a hands-on manager at the age of 83.

Ecclestone has denied being part of a "corrupt bargain" to undervalue Formula One in order to remain head of a business he had run for decades when CVC paid German bank BayernLB around $830 million for a 47 percent stake in 2005.

Ecclestone said he did not think that jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, former chief risk officer at BayernLB, had wanted to remove him from his role prior to the sale.

"He gets rid of me and the company is worth nothing," Ecclestone told the court.

"I'm sorry if I seem to be taking a very arrogant position but I am just talking about facts," he added.

The legal fallout from the CVC deal risks ending Ecclestone's long grip on the glamorous motor sport which generates annual revenues of an estimated $2 billion from its series of high-speed races watched by hundreds of millions.

It has also further complicated stalled plans to list the business on the Singapore stock exchange.   Continued...

Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone arrives at the High Court in central London November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris