Liberty Media in F1 ownership race
August 26, 2016
By Colin Mann
Reports have surfaced that John Malone’s Liberty Media is seeking to take control of Formula One motor racing, with Sky News reporting that it is in detailed talks with F1’s controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners, about a transaction.
Similar reports late June 2015 suggested that another of Malone’s companies, Liberty Global, was working with Sky on a bid. A year earlier, Liberty Global and cable networks programmer Discovery Communications were rumoured to be seeking to take a 49 per cent stake. Malone, controls a 27 per cent voting stake in Liberty Global and a 29 per cent voting stake in Discovery.
The latest report suggests that such a deal could involve Chase Carey, a former DirecTV and News Corporation executive, being appointed as chairman of the sport’s parent company prior to or alongside a deal. CVC is said to be considering naming him – with the support of Liberty Media Corp – as F1’s chairman to replace Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestle.
According to the report, under the proposals tabled by Liberty Media, shares in F1’s parent would be acquired in two phases for cash and stock. The first tranche, which would involve the acquisition of a minority stake and would not be subject to regulatory conditions, could take place within weeks.
The remainder of the deal would see Liberty Media Corp acquiring the majority of the company, which would be subject to the approval of certain regulators as well as the FIA, world motorsport’s governing body.