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SBD Global/May 24, 2013/Finance

Bernie Ecclestone's Bribery Case Seen As Disruptive To CVC's Plan To Sell F1

CVC Capital Partners Ltd.’s plan to hold an initial public offering of F1 "may be hurt by a bribery investigation" involving F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. Ecclestone "is negotiating an accord" known as the “Concorde Agreement” through '20 with teams, which will race this weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix. Former team Owner Paul Stoddart said Ecclestone has not appointed a deputy, and it could take years for a replacement to “get up to speed.” Stoddart: “CVC is between a rock and a hard place. If Bernie Ecclestone was forced to stand down, the Concorde Agreement would be thrown into complete turmoil.” CVC "is scaling back its interest" in F1, selling stakes worth $1.6B to BlackRock Inc., Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. and Norges Bank Investment Management last year. Ecclestone’s biographer, Tom Bower, said that it "would be difficult for CVC to hold an IPO without Formula One’s chief executive officer." Bower: “It’s not a simple matter like a normal company where you can hand over the management.” Ecclestone “holds all the strings in Formula One. If he is forced out, it would be a major earthquake” (BLOOMBERG, 5/23).
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