F1 sale to be completed before start of season
The sport’s new owners could collect the keys earlier than planned after competition authorities approve the sale
Liberty Media will complete their purchase of a controlling interest in F1 in the rst quarter of 2017. The company, which bought 18.7 per cent of F1 for US$746m in cash in September 2016, will take their shareholding to 35.3 per cent in a deal that values the business at US$8bn. Liberty say they have “all required approvals from all appropriate anti-trust authorities in connection with the pending acquisition of Formula 1”.
The next step is approval by all Liberty shareholders, just after F1 Racing goes to press, on 17 January, and by the FIA, which is a formality. Insiders say the deal should be completed before April and there are not expected to be any immediate changes once Liberty take over from former majority owners CVC Capital Partners, who will retain a 24.7 per cent holding once the deal is complete.
Liberty seek to lay new foundations for F1 in 2017. They want to grow the business through more active use of digital media, with a focus on the core European races, which they see as being F1’s heartland and an asset to be valued and nurtured. They also want to invest more in the US, and are targeting new races there.
Chairman Chase Carey has been playing a low-key role since the deal was announced, but has been meeting with major stakeholders and other interested parties as he attempts to form a picture of where F1 is at. Many have told him the sport is “dysfunctional” under the current regime and needs a revamp, particularly in governance.
Bernie Ecclestone’s future, once the deal is complete, is unclear. If he stays on, it will only be on the condition that he operates under strict guidelines, a situation with which he has never been comfortable.