Formula One revving up for listing in two weeks’ time

FORMULA One’s eagerly anticipated £6bn flotation in Singapore will take place earlier than expected within the next two to three weeks, City A.M. understands.

It had been feared global market turbulence would cause the initial public offering to be delayed until after the summer but the listing has now been given the green light, according to sources close to the situation.

Between 20 and 30 per cent of the motor racing business will be offered in a deal that is expected to value Formula One at around £6bn.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is believed to be looking to reduce its 63.4 per cent stake, which it has held since 2006, perhaps to below 50 per cent.

It is thought that an encouraging initial response to Facebook’s IPO has helped expedite Formula One’s listing, despite ongoing uncertainty in the euro zone.

Banking heavyweights UBS and Goldman Sachs have been hired to lead the IPO. Morgan Stanley, Banco Santander in Spain, Singapore’s DBS Group and Malaysian CIMB have been hired as bookrunners. UBS and Santander are also major sponsors of the sport.

London-based Formula One is run by long-standing motorsport tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, who owns a 5.3 per cent stake and has grown annual revenues to an estimated £1bn.

The estate of Lehman Brothers owns 15.3 per cent, Ecclestone’s ex-wife Slavica 8.5 per cent and other minority investors 7.5 per cent.

Formula One’s image suffered last month when its visit to the Middle East for the Bahrain Grand Prix was disrupted by civil unrest in the Gulf kingdom.

Premier League football giants Manchester United shelved plans for their own listing in Singapore in September amid market volatility.