U.S. Billionaire John Malone Launches $4 Billion Bid For Formula One Through Liberty Global
A "controversial" billionaire is in the running to buy a significant stake in F1, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. John Malone, the biggest individual landowner in the U.S., has launched a $4B bid "for almost half the F1 business through his Liberty Global company, along with Discovery Communications." Negotiations "are said to be at the earliest stages" with the bid falling $1B short of the share valuation put on F1 by CVC Capital Partners, the City-based private equity group and the sport’s controlling shareholder. One of America's "most powerful" media entrepeneurs, Malone "clearly sees F1 as a potential addition to his stable of cable television outlets" (LONDON TIMES, 6/13). BLOOMBERG's Sherman, Campbell & Duff reported talks with CVC Capital Partners and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. continued "and a deal may not be reached." CVC owns about 35.5% of F1 and bankrupt Lehman owns 15.3%. The acquisition "would give Liberty Global and Discovery sports content to go along with their other European cable-TV assets." Discovery "boosted its stake" in Eurosport Int'l, a European sports media group, to 51% earlier this year. The two companies together "bought U.K.-based TV company All3Media last month." Despite the valuation gap, "the sides have made progress toward a deal in recent weeks." Representatives for CVC and Liberty Global, controlled by Malone, "declined to comment." Spokespeople for Lehman and Discovery "also declined to comment" (BLOOMBERG, 6/13).