CVC in the F1 driving seat

Private equity group CVC has been given permission by the European Commission to complete its purchase of a controlling stake in Formula One Group, the motor racing company infamously steered by the wily Bernie Ecclestone.

Last November CVC Capital Partners formed a new company, Alpha Prema, to buy the interests of German bank Bayerische Landesbank and Bambino Holdings, a trust in the name of Ecclestone’s wife Slavica. But the deal had to make a pit stop until it gained approval from the EC and motor racing organisation the FIA (Fédération International de l’Automobile).

Bernie is to remain at the wheel of the Formula One Group and will still hold a minority stake, with CVC holding 86 per cent. However, the chequered flag has not come down on the deal yet, with a company spokesman saying it is expected to complete ‘shortly’.

CVC has experience of investing in motor sport through its 1998 purchase of Dorna, the company that organises and manages the commercial rights of the group that ran the MotoGP motorcycle grand prix. A condition of the Formula One sale set down by the EC is that CVC needs to divest its interests in Dorna, but is allowing ‘adequate time to conduct an orderly sale’.

Donald Mackenzie, a managing partner of CVC, expressed his joy at completion of the deal: ‘We are pleased that we are now able to complete our investment in Formula One, and look forward to working with Bernie Ecclestone and his team to further develop and grow the business.’

Leslie Copeland

Gordon Yost

Leslie was made Editor for Growth Company Investor magazine in 2000, then headed up the launch of Business XL magazine, and then became Editorial Director in 2007 for the online and print publication portfolio...

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