CVC has finished to discuss the agreement to give the F1 to Liberty corporation. Ecclestone will not leave but he will stay at least other three years more.
After this,we can say: Ecclestone is immortal…
Anyone looking to leave him behind, it will be upset because Bernie Ecclestone will continue to lead F1, even when the american corporation Liberty Media will take full control of the Formula One Group. Bernie talked about it an explained the way F1 will change:
“It was decided, I will carry on to lead the F1 as Chief Executive. Discussion between CVC Group and Liberty Media Corporation were positive, so they will buy the 35,5% of F1 and its business. Those are the shares owned by CVC, anything else is divided among minor shareholders. I will continue to hold a 5% of shares”
Main surprise of this agreement, it is the fact he will not be dismissed but he will stay on the lead. In reality, it was the Liberty Media who asked him to do not leave. Perhaps, they thought it was too dangerous to discharge the person capable to handle F1 during 40 years in a constant balance. If he was going to leave, they were afraid F1 could collapse like a house of cards. As said before, Ecclestone will remain as Chief Executive during other three years, while the main manager will change: Donald Mackenzie will leave (Boss of CVC Partners Group) and Chase Carey will come-in (He is the Vice-president of Liberty Media Group and righthand man of John Malone). So bernie will lead the F1 until the age of 90 years old. Not too bad for an old man who looks 15 years younger. He actually explained his strategy for the near future:
“I will carry-on to do what I did so far: talk about the circuit, when it is better to do a race, talk with TV channels and teams. Good news, it is Chase Carey will be capable to give a nice boost to the Socail media and a new platform where F1 will be available on the web. As you know, I have never been able to gain money from social medias”
Chase Carey was the main manager of Century Fox and DirectTV, the most important satellite channel in the U.S.A. His main idea is to make the F1 more popular in the State because right now, it is weaker than Nascar. Somebody is saying this change of ownership was not suffered by Ecclestone, but it is possible this was planned from the very beginning. After understanding CVC was not interested to invest any more money in Formula 1, but only to gain money, he decided to plan a change of power. Not to carry on leading F1 but to push forward the racing and the teams to the future, improving those areas where Bernie and CVC did not have enough knowledge: social medias, internet and those relationships with American sponsors.
Entire Circus value is estimated to be around 8 billions dollars, Liberty will succeed CVC Group by giving 750 million dollars cash. The equity value of Formula 1 is around 4,4 billion dollars. Initial shares will be around 18,7% but there will be a second time where the shares will become 35% as said before. There will be an option to F1 teams to invest some money and become share holders too. Some of them, they have shown a certain interest to do so. Main office of F1, it will remain in London while Liberty Group wants to make clear its idea is to stay for a long period of time in this business. There is an intention to list Formula One Group on Wall Street. Greg Maffei, President of Liberyt Media Group, said:
“We are very excited to become the F1. We think our strategies will improve this sport, so our fans will get a better result and a nice show to watch. We look to the future and we have intention to work closely with Chase Carey and Bernie Ecclestone. I personally admire the F1, a sport capable to involve every season million of fans worldwide”