Liberty Media has completed an $8 billion acquisition of Delta Topco – F1 parent – which makes them the Formula 1 new owners and signals an end to Ecclestone’s 40-year reign as CEO.
(Image credit: Formula 1)
Formula 1 new owners have decided to appoint Chase Carey as the new chief executive of F1, which will see him serve dual positions as he’s already the Chairman of the group. Ecclestone on the other hand will remain involved in the business to a limited capacity in his new role as Chairman Emeritus – a position that will serve as ‘a source of advice for the board of F1.’
Liberty Media takes over the group to become the Formula 1 new owners from CVC Capital Partners – a private equity firm – which controlled the majority ownership of Delta Topco – the now former parent company of F1. CVC bought a significant stake in the motor sport group in 2006, but they kept on Ecclestone as the chief, responsible of running the day-to-day business operations.
According to CNN, Liberty – the Formula 1 new owners – are set to complete the takeover from CVC in two steps; the initial phase involves a cash payment of $746 million in exchange for 18.7% ownership in F1. The second phase will kick in once regulatory approval has been finalized, and it will then see Liberty take full control of the motor racing group, while also assuming its debt, which is set to make the takeover valued at $8 billion.
The President and CEO of Liberty Media Corporation, Greg Maffei, acknowledged Ecclestone’s immense influence in building the Formula 1 into what it is today, but he also believes the motor sport group has untapped opportunities that can see them grow to the next level.
“There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this,” Maffei commented. “I’d like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who becomes Chairman Emeritus, for his tremendous success in building this remarkable global sport.”
Before pouring praise onto the Formula 1 new owners and their new CEO, Ecclestone highlighted his own achievements in the sport over the course of the last four decades, which has seen the motor racing group go from being a relatively modest business to a global corporate entity that rakes in billions every year, thanks to diverse revenue sources.
By 2003, Formula 1 was generating $729 million in annual earnings, while more than a decade later, in 2015 it recorded $1.8 billion in revenues under Ecclestone’s shrewd guidance, The Guardian reports.
“I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1, and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with,” said the 86-year-old Ecclestone.
“I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”
After losing the F1 title narrowly last season to his former teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton is the favourite to win the Drivers Championship 2017, with odds of 5/4 (2.25), while the Briton’s new teammate Valtteri Bottas is second in the running 11/4 (3.75). Red Bull duo Max Verstappen 10/3 (4.33) and Daniel Ricciardo 9/2 (5.50) are right behind the Mercedes team on the odds chart, as they aim to wrestle back the Drivers titles from the German manufacturer – they’ve won the last three Drivers Championships (2014 – LH, 2015 – LM and 2016 – NR).
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