For­mula One set to change own­ers

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

A NEW chap­ter dawns for For­mula One with Amer­i­can me­dia mogul John Malone poised to be­come the glit­ter­ing but flawed sport­ing jewel’s new cus­to­dian.

The Malone-backed Lib­erty Me­dia has emerged in pole po­si­tion to buy F1 af­ter in­ter­est from broad­caster Sky, Paris Saint-Ger­main’s owner Qatar Sports In­vest­ments and Stephen Ross, owner of MLS side the Mi­ami Dol­phins, waned.

The high-oc­tane sport’s oc­to­ge­nar­ian ring­mas­ter Bernie Ec­cle­stone told Ger­man mag­a­zine Auto Mo­tor und Sport at last week­end’s Ital­ian Grand Prix that a deal was im­mi­nent, pos­si­bly as early as to­day.

The Septem­ber 5 edi­tion of Bri­tish news­pa­per Fi­nan­cial Times sug­gested talks be­tween Lib­erty Me­dia and cur­rent 35 per­cent ma­jor­ity stake-own­ers CVC Part­ners were “at an ad­vanced stage”.

The 75-year-old Malone’s me­dia em­pire is ex­pected to take an ini­tial 10-15pc stake val­ued at US$1.3 bil­lion-$2.7 bil­lion, en route to be­com­ing ma­jor­ity own­ers in a deal valu­ing F1 at $8-$9 bil­lion.

The Fi­nan­cial Times quot­ing “peo­ple briefed in the talks”, say that Chase Carey, ex­ec­u­tive vice-chair of Ru­pert Mur­doch’s 21st Cen­tury Fox, would be ap­pointed F1’s new chair.

Lib­erty Me­dia al­ready has in­ter­est in sev­eral sports and en­ter­tain­ment busi­nesses, in­clud­ing the At­lanta Braves Ma­jor League base­ball team.

If it goes ahead this deal would end years of ru­mour and spec­u­la­tion over F1’s fu­ture.

Ec­cle­stone, who owns 5.3pc and with his Bam­bino Trust a fur­ther 8.3pc, is the mas­ter­mind be­hind F1’s evo­lu­tion over the past 40 years into a bil­lion-dol­lar sport­ing busi­ness.

Ec­cle­stone, who forked up $100 mil­lion to the Ger­man au­thor­i­ties to end a high-pro­file bribery trial in 2014, held talks with CVC co-chair Don­ald Macken­zie at Monza, the BBC re­ported.

With the sport’s at­trac­tion to tele­vi­sion au­di­ences un­der­mined by the re­cent dom­i­na­tion of first Red Bull and now Mercedes, Lib­erty’s ar­rival was wel­comed by key per­son­al­i­ties in the pits.

Red Bull’s Chris­tian Horner told The Guardian, “It could be a re­ally ex­cit­ing deal for For­mula One if it hap­pens ... but for a new group to come in without [Ec­cle­stone] be­ing there would be very dif­fi­cult, so I’d as­sume he’ll be around for some time.”

An­a­lysts hope that a spe­cial­ist me­dia em­pire such as Lib­erty can reignite in­ter­est in a sport which ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures has seen its global view­ing au­di­ence shed 200 mil­lion view­ers since 2008. –

Photo: AFP

Af­ter shed­ding 200 mil­lion TV view­ers in the past eight years, For­mula One hopes to make a come­back un­der new own­er­ship.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.