American media giant Liberty Media has revealed its first step towards a takeover of Formula 1, which will cost $8 billion in total.
Liberty Media will take an 18.7 percent stake in F1 in the short term. The initial step is a $1.1 billion cash deal, with Chase Carey – the executive vice chairman of 21st Century Fox – to be installed as F1’s new chairman.
“I am thrilled to take up the role of Chairman of Formula One and have the opportunity to work alongside Bernie Ecclestone, CVC, and the Liberty Media team,” said Carey.
“I greatly admire Formula One as a unique global sports entertainment franchise attracting hundreds of millions of fans each season from all around the world. I see great opportunity to help Formula One continue to develop and prosper for the benefit of the sport, fans, teams and investors alike.”
He succeeds Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who will remain on Formula 1’s board as a non-executive director.
Bernie Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder of the sport, will retain his CEO position as previously reported. He said: “I would like to welcome Liberty Media and Chase Carey to Formula One and I look forward to working with them.”
Liberty will invest $4.4 billion equity in total, and also assume $4.1 billion of F1’s debt. The deal, which is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2017, will total an expected enterprise value of $8 billion.
CVC Capital Partners, the current owners of F1, will retain 65 percent of the rebranded ‘Formula 1 Group’ – but will not control voting rights.
Liberty Global is owned by John Malone, who owns a varied portfolio of businesses from Sirius XM satellite radio to the Atlanta Braves baseball team.