The Financial Times recently broke news of a story involving the possible transfer of ownership of a controlling stake of the Formula 1 Group. Currently, the company is owned by a variety of investment groups, with CVC Capital Partners controlling the largest stake of 35.5% and Bernie Ecclestone having reduced his stake in recent years to a mere 5%.
Reports are now surfacing that a variety of buyers are now interested in buying out CVC, as the company has had trouble managing the sport, drawing the ire of many.
The potential buyer of the CVC stake is a strange partnership between the investment authority of the government of Qatar and Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins and the man who developed New York City’s Time Warner Center.
Ross and the Qataris certainly have the capital to buy out CVC, who is reportedly a willing seller, but most of the specifies have remained hush. The Qataris bring near unlimited capital, and Ross’ presence is hoped to facilitate efforts to fuel the growth of the sport in the US.
As to where the joint bid between Qatar and Ross’ RSE Ventures will leave Bernie, who is also rumored to be considering selling his stake, no one can be sure. FIA president Max Mosley commented to the BBC via radio interview, however, that he didn’t see the 84 year old executive’s role changing much. Mosley stated,
“But I think whatever happens, if it is taken over, I don’t really see Bernie’s role changing – unless and until he wants it to change. Because he’s the person who’s managed to sell it everywhere.
I’m sure CVC has had thoughts about an 84-year-old chief executive. The fact is that there’s nobody else that does the job as well. That’s my gut feeling.”