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Volume 10 No. 23


F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that CVC, the "private equity firm which is Formula One's largest shareholder, will have to sell its stake in the world's most popular motorsports series by 2018 at the latest," according to Christian Sylt for AUTOWEEK. CVC paid $2B for F1 in '06 using two loans --  $965.6M from its $7.3B investment Fund IV, and $1.1B from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). CVC holds an "approximately" 35% stake in F1 and planned to "exit through a flotation on the Singapore stock exchange" in '12. Recent "rumors suggested that media mogul John Malone's Liberty Group had teamed up with Discovery Communications to make a bid for F1, but Ecclestone denied any knowledge of a takeover." Ecclestone, however, said that "the way CVC [is] structured, I think they eventually have to sell, not just this company but any company. They can only keep [the stake] for a certain period." Ecclestone's "explanation is confirmed in the Private Placement Memorandum for Fund IV which was sent to its investors, who are known as Limited Partners," before it was launched in '05 (AUTOWEEK, 3/4).

A report commissioned by the European Club Association revealed that European football clubs "are failing to pay as much as they should to compensate other teams for training players," according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. The report said that as little as 1.5% of $5.1B in transfer fees "the last two seasons was paid out in so-called solidarity payments." FIFA requires buying clubs to pay 5% of transfer fees to the teams "that trained players between the ages of 12 and 23." The report said that there was a shortfall of $199M "in the last two seasons." Raffaele Poli, a researcher at the Int'l Center for Sports Studies in Neuchatel, Switzerland, said that clubs in South America and Africa "often fail to chase payments" they were not aware they were owed or which they did not have the resources to pursue (BLOOMBERG, 3/4).

Punter-friendly sports results stopped bookmaker Paddy Power from "repeating the double-digit profit growth of last year but an increase in mobile use offered hope for the Irish betting group's long-term fortunes." Paddy Power said on Tuesday that it had suffered an "exceptional run" in which it "found itself on the wrong side of horseracing bets." The industry is "also enduring" a "difficult" EPL season after a weekend in January "saw the top seven teams win in a single weekend." Bookmakers "rely on draws and upsets to counter payouts to winning punters" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/4). ... Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia has "officially been authorised to sell shares in the club to the public, the first club in the former communist East European Bloc to do so." The decision to allow the IPO "was taken at a meeting of the Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 3/4).