By on September 8, 2016

Formula One (Leo Hidalgo/Flickr)

New details about the Formula One purchase trickled out last night after the buyer, Liberty Media Corp., agreed a deal to take over the sport.

The U.S.-based entertainment and telecommunications giant will initially pay $4.4 billion for a controlling stake in the franchise, The Guardian reports, and a familiar white-haired figure will keep his job.

The cash-and-stock deal wrestles control of the sport away from CVC Capital partners, which has controlled the franchise for the past decade. Liberty Media, headed by tycoon John Malone, will hold an 18.7 percent stake in Formula One until the deal closes in 2017, at which point the company gains all of the voting shares. CVC will reportedly remain a non-voting shareholder.

In a statement, Liberty Media claimed, “The transaction price represents an enterprise value for Formula One of $8 (billion) and an equity value of $4.4 (billion).”

Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One’s snow-haired 85-year-old chief executive, will keep his job, but he’ll be working with a new chairman. Liberty Media claims, “Chase Carey will serve as the new chairman of Formula One, succeeding Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who will remain on Formula One’s board as a non-executive director.”

Yesterday, Reuters reported that Ecclestone was asked to stay on for another three years as CEO.

Formula One is seen as a cash cow for Liberty Media, which plans to use its media prowess to milk more profits from the lucrative franchise. “There’s an opportunity to continue to build this business and take it to the next level,” Carey said during an investor call late yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Carey claims that Formula One attracts a large TV audience — one with all the right demographics to lure in big-buck advertisers.

[Image: Leo Hidalgo/Flickr]

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9 Comments on “Formula One Takeover Details: Bernie’s Still the Boss, New Chairman Announced...”


  • avatar
    Jimal

    Now if they could just extricate the FIA and their dopey ideas from Formula One and get back to it being the engineering exercise it always was and let WEC be the place where ideas no one cares about go to die.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      There’s no point. Racecar design is pretty much a solved problem with the driver being the weak point. They can throw a monkey wrench in the process by suddenly requiring different displacements and boost levels, but the real issue is that the rules are almost only there for the sake of having rules and another redesign with the possibility of a different manufacturer getting the lucky “hot design”.

      WEC at least pretends to have some sort of existing basis of cars (at least for the lower levels), but still has stupid rules for the sake of stupidity.

      If you want an engineering challenge, you don’t want any of that (unless it requires homologation). Simply specify a cage, a maximum envelope (minimum envelope presumably is the cage), and a maximum amount of fuel (chosen to limit speed to survivable levels). And let them go. Personally, since this hasn’t happened after decades since it made sense, we can always hope for homologation.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    So… $8 billion for what is the premiere motorsport in the world. By an American company too.

    Its a bit strange to me because obviously F1 is a very Eurocentric sport… in fact its concentrated around a few select counties of England. Only recently with Haas have Americans come back.

    Formula One has done well to alienate fans. This last thing with the split of the season on television has been something unprecendented. Half of the season is with the BBC, the other half with Sky, so only half is FTA, the other half is with pay tv.

    Be that as it may, it hasnt bothered me to much, many races are on tracks that are unwatcheable (ie. most of the Tilke circuits) and the races invariably turn up a day later in FHD ready to watch on my laptop hooked up to a large screen tv, strangely sans ads and with the correct UK commentary instead of any local nonsense. Its the best way to watch F1.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Oh wow. It sounds like their due diligence amounted to watching a documentary about F1 from the tobacco sponsorship era.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I wonder if Liberty is buying in just in time to be late. This is the first season since I became a fan in the 1960s that I haven’t really paid attention to F1. It’s also the first year since the races began airing live in the U.S. that I haven’t watched most of them. Am I the outlier or are many others like me?

    My position: Unless you’re into the politics and intrigue, F1 just isn’t very interesting anymore. Certainly not on the track after the start and first turn. It’s become a kindergarten of millionaires… with a population of spoiled-brat child-drivers with a few mature, good-guy professionals among them.

    The series has become bogged down in overregulation, the cars and engines aren’t that appealing, and the sport has gotten a very cold feeling to it. It’s been this way for a while; it’s just that I have finally run out of patience.

    Too bad no one cares about IndyCar anymore. The racing is a lot better – even if the cars are kind of dorky.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The only interesting aspects of F1 today are whether or not Hamilton can overcome his team’s efforts to sabotage him and beat Rosturd again and whether Verstappen will learn to crash into gravel traps like his dad rather than superior drivers before he starts a body count. Otherwise its pretty much the least interesting season that wasn’t ruined by a tire war.

  • avatar
    Fred

    If they run F1 like they do their radio stations, expect nothing special.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    The disparity of the haves and have not is striking these days in Motorsport in general, especially in F1. Honestly , any middling F1 driver can be put in the Mercedes car and podium every race. I mean Hamilton started from the back last week and still took a podium spot.
    I still prefer sports car racing with production based vehicles for the best wheel to wheel racing entertainment.
    I still will make the trek to Montreal (or maybe Austin) every 3-4 years for the live human spectacle though

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Chase Carey was raised in my hometown and settled there after Harvard.

    Carey is #2 to Rupert Murdoch as Vice Chairman of 21st Century Fox . At 62, this must be fun for him.

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