Formula 1 owners CVC Capital confirmed a ‘friendly approach’ from News Corp (reported on ATV on April 20th) was joined by Italian investment company EXOR, controlled by the Agnelli family – once main owners of Fiat – and where the CEO is John Elkann, chairman of Fiat. Fiat owns Ferrari, F1’s most successful team.
It was also reported at the time that Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms billionaire, who has just got involved in F1 sponsorship, was interested in the bid.
CVC has confirmed it has received a “friendly” approach from James Murdoch’s company, and that he understands Formula 1 is currently not for sale. However CVC said it recognised “the quality of Exor and News Corporation as potential investors”.
“James Murdoch has informed us that the approach is friendly, at a very preliminary stage, and that they acknowledge that Formula 1 is privately owned by CVC and not currently for sale. CVC recognises the quality of Exor and News Corporation as potential investors, but any investment in Formula 1 will require CVC’s agreement and will need to demonstrate that it is in the interest of the sport and its stakeholders, taken as a whole.”
It is assumed a deal of some kind over F1 will be needed in the context of the eventual retirement of minority shareholder but executive controller of F1 the octogenarian Bernie Ecclestone.
The TV rights have generated huge sums but usually for FTA stations because the advertising associated with the cars and tracks is so important to the sports finances.