Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Exor reveal F1 plan

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Scott Webber, May 3, 2011.

  1. Scott Webber

    Scott Webber


    Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and an Italian invesment firm linked to Ferrari are working on a possible bid to take control of Formula 1.

    "Exor and News Corp will approach minority partners and key stakeholders in the sport," a joint Exor and News Corp statement read. "There can be no certainty that this will lead to an approach to F1's current owners." F1 is owned by the private equity firm CVC Partners. CVC paid £1.8bn to buy F1 in 2006. Last month Bernie Ecclestone, who runs F1 on behalf of CVC, dismissed reports that News Corporation was in talks with Mexico billionaire Carlos Slim, who sponsors the Sauber team, to buy F1 as "rubbish". On Tuesday the 80-year-old Bernie Ecclestone questioned the likelihood of a News Corp bid succeeding.

    "Personally, I know CVC don't want to sell, so it's going to be a bit difficult," said Ecclestone. "I can see CVC in for the long haul,absolutely, 100%. "If somebody came along and offered them a lot more money than it's worth, they [CVC] would obviously say 'Sit down,let's have a chat.' But I get the distinct feeling that's not going to happen. "I can't understand why a company as big as News Corp need to keep looking for partners. First it was Carlos Slim, and now we've a new one." Any takeover would involve changes to the Concorde Agreement, a commercial arrangement involving the racing teams, CVC and the sport's governing body, the FIA.

    This agreement says that the sport should be shown on free-to-air television where possible.
    However, the current agreement runs out at the end of 2012, and the signatories are in the process of negotiating a new one. The BBC currently has the UK broadcasting rights to F1 until 2013. News Corp, which owns 39% of broadcaster BSkyB and is trying to buy the rest of the company, could face regulatory hurdles if it took on broadcasting rights.

    In 1998, News Corp tried to buy the Manchester United football team but was blocked by the Competition Commission because of Sky's dominance in broadcasting the sport. F1's commercial rights are currently held by venture capital firm CVC who
    bought them in 2006 for #1.8billion. Chief executive Bernie Ecclestone stated last month that rumours of a takeover
    by News Corp were "rubbish," and any offer would have to be "ridiculous." However, given the combined worth of EXOR, who have a net asset value of #8billion, and News Corp, such a bid should not be a problem.

  2. James Johnson

    James Johnson
    The Weatherman

    Bernie will say no.. and never come back..
  3. James Chant

    James Chant

    I hope this doesnt happen. Much though I have sky tv, I don't think f1 should leave free to air tv.
  4. Rob Butler

    Rob Butler

    Agree James with the growing audience of the sport in the UK it would be devastating to take that away. Just look what happened in 2005 with Cricket; England win The Ashes, the sport for a few weeks is as big as football and 3months later those without a £40 p/m subscription can't watch the sport, and popularity falls.

    Luckily/foolishly I have Sky Sports and would still be able to watch the GPs. However I don't have multiroom, would i have woken to watch practice in Malaysia if he meant going down to the lounge etc? Probably not. Things eventually escalate and you start missing qualifying, then races.

    Also a lot of children/teenagers who live at home would no longer be able to watch F1 as unless their parents were fans of the sport/had multi room, I doubt their parents would want them watching the TV for 2/3 hours on a Sunday afternoon, when they could be watching something different. These are the fans of tomorrow, and without fans there is no F1.
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