Murdoch looks to F1 takeover

Steve Dinneen
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News Corp could have the financial clout to force through a deal for Formula One, despite its boss Bernie Ecclestone saying the owners will not sell, sources sais yesterday..

Rupert Murdoch is understood to be in talks with Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim to launch an audacious bid for one of the most prized assets in sport. The F1 chief executive poured cold water on a possible bid, saying the sport’s owners, CVC Capital Partners, are not looking to sell the sport.

“CVC are not in the slightest bit interested in selling,” Ecclestone told Bloomberg. “A lot of people approach them but they are there for the long term.

“If they [News Corp] were interested for sure they would have called me and they haven’t.”

However, he admitted CVC would be forced to consider a high enough bid, adding: “If someone was to come along with an enormous offer, a lot more than it were worth, then they have to look at it. They have never talked about selling though.”

One person with knowledge of the matter told City A.M. he believes talks are at a very preliminary stage but agreed CVC would be forced to listen if News Corp were willing to pay enough.

He said: “Never say never, CVC is a business and if they were given an offer they couldn’t refuse then you never know.

“But there are a lot of advisers who would love to see this deal go through so it should be treated with a pinch of salt until something solid is on the table.”

Ecclestone says a sale to a media company would be problematic in terms of negotiating rights. However, F1 was almost sold to the German media firm Kirch Group before CVC snapped it up in 2006 for $1.8bn (£1.1bn).