Ecclestone to net $130m from Liberty takeover

LONDON • Bernie Ecclestone will walk away with about £72 million (S$129.65 million) from the takeover of Formula One by Liberty Media.

He is also set to take a £10 million salary after hanging on to his post as chief executive of the sport for the next three years.

Despite rumours that the Briton was out of a job after the £6 billion buyout by the American media conglomerate, the chief executive will continue his four-decade rule over the sport, while the headquarters of the business will remain at his Princes Gate offices in London.

It has emerged that he will sell a 1.2 per cent stake in the Formula One company, known as Delta Topco - almost a quarter of his personal shareholding - to Liberty, netting himself £72 million.

Now he will have to find a way of working with Chase Carey, the high-powered American executive, who takes over promising to revolutionise Formula One's vapid social media and marketing.

Teams are welcoming the change, particularly as they will be given the chance to buy a stake in the business, although the terms are not yet known.

Drivers, too, are optimistic, with 2009 world champion Jenson Button admitting that Ecclestone was out of step with modern social media developments. He feels Liberty can reach out to a new audience.

"This will definitely help the future of the sport," Button told Sky News. "Most sports are going down certain directions with apps and Formula One is behind in getting out to a younger audience.

"Our audience is people that watched me start and they are still watching Formula One. We don't really have a young audience.

"We need help in that area and that is the way the sport will grow worldwide, and not just in the countries where it is strongest, like the UK and Japan and other countries in Europe. The continuity of Bernie being in charge day-to-day is exactly what it needs."

Formula One's next destination is Singapore, one of the newest and most successful grands prix on the calendar. Ecclestone will be missing, though, as he introduces Carey and his new team to the workings of Formula One.

The takeover is still in the earliest stages and Liberty will need time to understand how to make the transition from Ecclestone's one-man band to a new corporate structure for the future.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Ecclestone to net $130m from Liberty takeover'. Print Edition | Subscribe