Leaked Documents Reveal F1 Owners Preparing For Reported $10B Flotation
The buildup to Sunday's season-opening F1 Australian Grand Prix “was tinged with anger, jealousy and intrigue after an unsigned version of the new Concorde Agreement...was leaked to Sky News,” and it appears to "reveal that Formula One’s owner, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, is preparing to sell part of its shareholding in the sport for the first time since its 2005 takeover,” according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. The move would be “part of a shake-up of Formula One’s commercial structure that could hand Ferrari a direct stake in the sport.” Red Bull reportedly also “stand to make a huge sum from the new financial framework,” with both Red Bull and Ferrari “allowed to appoint a director to the board of the sport’s holding company.” Some felt the document was leaked “in an attempt to scupper the deal, showing Ferrari and Red Bull in a bad light as money-driven and out for themselves.” The current Concorde Agreement expires at the end of this season. Any agreement to sell part of CVC’s interest would likely value F1 at “well over $10 billion” (London TELEGRAPH, 3/19). Cary yesterday cited a Sky News report that F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone is “preparing a $10 billion flotation of Formula One, with Ferrari to be offered a special shareholding in a new Concorde Agreement.” Sky News reported that the public offering “will be for part of current owners CVC Capital Partners’ stake.” Ferrari will have “a special position as the oldest team in the sport, and there’s extra cash for Red Bull.” Cary wrote the “special deal for Ferrari and Red Bull makes sense given their decision to quit the Formula One Teams Association in December, ostensibly over a disagreement over cost-cutting" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 3/18). The GUARDIAN reported Ferrari “would have a representative on the board in Luca di Montezemolo, the team's president.” One would “also be allotted” to Red Bull Founder Dietrich Mateschitz, a “friend of Ecclestone.” But there would be “no seats for McLaren, one of the sport's most successful teams, or Mercedes which has invested huge amounts in F1” (GUARDIAN, 3/19).