Investors approve F1 takeover blueprint

WASHINGTON • Liberty Media's takeover of Formula One moved another step forward on Tuesday, as shareholders green-lighted a bid that values the world's premier motor racing brand at US$8 billion (S$11.37 billion).

At the meeting in Englewood, Colorado, investors approved a proposal on the issuing of shares related to the deal, which was announced in September, as well as the renaming of Liberty's media group to Liberty Formula One Group.

The deal must still be approved by Formula One's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and Liberty said it expects this will be finalised by the end of March.

US billionaire John Malone's Liberty had announced in September it had struck an agreement to buy out Formula One's parent company from CVC Capital, and had already acquired a minority stake of 18.7 per cent.

The takeover will give the US firm control of a sport that rakes in billions of dollars from advertisers and broadcasting rights.

Formula One-branded merchandise also brings in millions, but some F1 teams are plagued by financial problems and the sport has limited activity in the social and digital media platforms crucial to courting younger fans.

In September, Liberty said it would keep long-time Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, 86, but it also said it would install 21st Century Fox vice-chairman Chase Carey as the sport's new chairman.

Carey has a proven record in expansive sport-media growth, and expertise in the value and exploitation of sports rights.

The 20-race Formula One season gets under way in Melbourne on March 26 and ends in Abu Dhabi on Nov 26.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2017, with the headline 'Investors approve F1 takeover blueprint'. Print Edition | Subscribe