Formula One primed for takeover
The first instalment of a multi-billion-pound deal that would see new owners take control of Formula One is expected to be announced today.
American media conglomerate Liberty Media has been in talks to buy CVC Partners' controlling stake in the world's most famous motor sport series for several months and staff at F1's head office have been told the deal is effectively done.
Liberty Media, which is owned by American entrepreneur John Malone, will initially buy about a third of the British private equity firm's 35 per cent holding in F1's parent company Delta Topco.
The rest of CVC Partners' stake will then be purchased at a later date, subject to the approval of motor sport's governing body the FIA, which also owns 1 per cent of Delta Topco.
Neither CVC Partners or Liberty Media would confirm or deny any of these details when asked, but it is understood that F1 staff have been providing data for the American group's due diligence checks since April.
CVC Partners have controlled F1 ever since they bought two large chunks of the business for about £1.5billion in 2006. Since then, however, they have earned almost £6billion by diluting their stake - while retaining control thanks to their preferential shares - and taking their share of F1's large dividends.
Those dividends are based on the huge sums F1 obtains from the various hosts of its races, national broadcasters who pay handsomely for a piece of F1's 400 million global TV audience and other commercial revenues, all of which add up to annual profits of almost £400m.