After several years of speculation, it is reported that control of Formula 1 is expected to be taken over from its majority shareholder, CVC Partners, who own 35.5%, by the US-based Liberty Media Group in a £6.5 billion deal.
Liberty Media is owned by billionaire John Malone and has controlling interests in a number of major sports properties, including the ‘Atlanta Braves’ Major League Baseball Club. Liberty Media also owns’ Live Nation Entertainment’ and is also strong in the digital field.
So, what will happen to Formula 1 under its new ownership? What changes can we expect?
Such a takeover by an American media company is expected to boost the popularity of Formula 1 in the States and exploit its ‘show side’ as well promoting the sport on social and other media, which is currently lacking.
The really big question, however, concerns the future of the so-called ‘puppet master’ of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone, who is currently Chief Executive and has dominated the sport for the last forty years. He will be 86 at the end of next month and owns 5.3% of Formula 1. Will he still be involved?
In his own words: he expects to be around and doing what he normally does! But, we shall see what happens in due course.
Exciting times indeed!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw