SBD/April 29, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Ecclestone Says Rupert Murdoch Has "Close To Zero" Chance Of Buying F1

Ecclestone says reports of F1 sale to Rupert Murdoch are media driven
F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone said that News Corp. Chair & CEO Rupert Murdoch "has a 'close to zero' chance of buying Formula One and talk of a takeover is being driven by the media and advisers seeking to make money," according to Baldwin & Helton of REUTERS. Reports earlier this month indicated that Murdoch's News Corp. was "in the early stages of talks to form a consortium to acquire control" of F1. Murdoch "has made sport a cornerstone of his pay-TV operations and it has also been a prime motivation for many of his deals, and analysts see a logic to his involvement in F1." But Ecclestone said the reports are "media driven." Ecclestone: "It looks very much like someone who is trying to see if they can make (money). All of these people that get involved with these things, they get some victims and say: 'We can make this happen, I'm sure we can do this,' and then all they do is keep pumping fees in" (REUTERS, 4/28).

BAHRAIN DEADLINE APPROACHING: In London, Tom Cary reports Ecclestone Thursday suggested that Sunday's deadline for a final decision on whether or not to run this year's Bahrain Grand Prix "could be extended," only for the FIA to "contradict him." The deadline was "imposed by the FIA last month after the original race date, March 13, was abandoned due to violent civil unrest." Ecclestone: "We need to wait a little bit to see exactly how progress is made. Things can change in a couple of weeks. ... I suppose we'd be safe by early June or something like that." Cary notes Ecclestone's comments "initially appeared to catch the FIA off guard," although a spokesperson later said that he was "not aware of any plans to extend Bahrain's deadline." The spokesperson said, "As far as we are concerned a decision is still due on Sunday. Because it's a weekend it may be Monday morning that we announce the decision, but we haven't spoken to Mr Ecclestone about any delay" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/29).
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