F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone Says Majority Shareholder CVC Must Sell Its Stake By '18
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).