Sale of Formula One to Liberty Media to go ahead next week - report

Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone (above) is said to have told a trade magazine that the sale will go ahead next week.
Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone (above) is said to have told a trade magazine that the sale will go ahead next week.PHOTO: AFP

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - A sale of Formula One to Liberty Media is to go ahead next week, the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone told German trade magazine Auto Motor Und Sport on the sidelines of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Saturday (Sept 3).

The magazine said that according to Ecclestone, Liberty Media will transfer the first of two tranches of payment in the US$8.5 billion (S$11.5 billion) deal on Tuesday.

Recent media reports had said that British broadcaster Sky as well as a consortium of Liberty Media's sister company Liberty Global and Discovery Communications were also circling Formula One.

Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne earlier said the industry as a whole had a vested interest in stability for Formula One.

"I've had this conversation with CVC in the past, I've had it with Bernie... I think it's important that we provide stability and a long-term view. I'm sure that will happen soon," he said.

Auto Motor Und Sport said Ecclestone left it unclear what role he would play once a deal had gone through.

It quoted him as saying: "I will do what I have always done. What role I play is my decision."

Formula One's biggest shareholders are private equity firm CVC Capital Partners with a 35.5 per cent stake and US fund manager Waddell & Reed with 20.9 per cent. Ecclestone holds 5.3 per cent of Formula One and his Bambino Trust has another 8.5 per cent.

CVC and Liberty Media declined to comment on the Auto Motor Und Sport report.

Waddell & Reed was not immediately available for comment.