Business World

Sunday 20 October 2019

Formula 1 offering hits bump after investigation

CVC Capital Partners's plan to hold an initial public offering of Formula 1 may be hurt by a bribery investigation involving the car-racing series boss Bernie Ecclestone, reports have said.

Mr Ecclestone will be charged by prosecutors in Germany for his part in Bayerische Landesbank's 2005 sale of the sport to CVC, German news magazine 'Der Spiegel' reported earlier this month.

The chief executive officer's lawyers, Sven Thomas and Norbert Scharf, said they hadn't received the indictment, which 'Der Spiegel' said was being translated into English.

The 82-year-old is negotiating an accord known as the "Concorde Agreement" through 2020 with teams, who will race this weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mr Ecclestone hasn't appointed a deputy, and it could take years for a replacement to "get up to speed", according to former team owner Paul Stoddart. "CVC is between a rock and a hard place," said Mr Stoddart, who ran the now-defunct Minardi squad from 2001 to 2005. "If Bernie Ecclestone was forced to stand down, the Concorde Agreement would be throw into complete turmoil."

The investigation, which saw BayernLB's Formula One manager Gerhard Gribkowsky sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison in 2012, could result in the series deciding whether Mr Ecclestone should step down permanently or temporarily, according to a prospectus of an IPO suspended last year on market conditions.

Mr Ecclestone said "everyone" on the Formula 1 board voted at a meeting in Geneva to retain him as CEO unless he was convicted.

CVC spokesman James Olley declined to comment on what the London-based buyout firm will do if Mr Ecclestone is charged with a crime.

Irish Independent

Also in Business