The future of Formula 1 is again in doubt after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and an Italian investment company stated their intention to approach minority partners ahead of a possible takeover.
As The Chequered Flag reported last month, Murdoch had teamed up with a partner to discuss the possibility of becoming majority stakeholders in the multi-billion dollar sport.
It was originally believed to be Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, but today it was revealed that News Corp had teamed up with Exor – who have links with Fiat (who in turn own Ferrari).
“Exor and News Corp will approach minority partners and key stakeholders in the sport,” a joint Exor and News Corp statement read.
But 80 year-old F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone played down the possibility that current majority stakeholders CVC would sell. They paid $1.8 billion five years ago.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The sudden interest from News Corp is thought to coincide with a possible TV coverage bid. The BBC currently has the broadcasting rights until 2013.