Formula 1 appears set for new ownership.Liberty Media has held talks with the sport’s current largest stakeholder CVC Capital Partners, which owns a 35.5 per cent share, over a reported £6.4billion buyout.
Here we look at what Liberty Media could offer the sport, if a takeover goes through:
What is Liberty Media?
Liberty Media Corporation owns interests in a broad range of media, communications and entertainment businesses including stakes of various sizes in concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment, US radio broadcaster Sirius XM Holdings, media multi-national Time Warner and cable TV/cinema business Viacom.
Does it already have an interest in sport?
Yes. Liberty Media attributes its interest into three ‘tracking stock groups’ and the Liberty Braves Group arm indirectly owns the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team and the Atlanta Braves’ stadium, Turner Field.
Have the Atlanta Braves been successful recently?
Not compared to their heyday during the 1990s and early 2000s when the team won numerous National League pennants and divisional titles. Since Liberty Media acquired the Braves in 2007 they have won the East Division title just once, in 2013.
Who runs Liberty Media?
The chairman is American billionaire John C Malone. The 75-year-old has built up a cable media empire within and far beyond the United States through Liberty Media and Liberty Global, the company which owns Virgin Media. Liberty also has a large share of the Discovery Communications group, which has the Discovery Channel and Eurosport in its portfolio.
Why does Liberty Media want to invest in Formula One?
Discovery and Liberty Global previously bought a stake in the company behind the Formula E electric racing circuit, and a Formula 1 deal could further strengthen its racing credentials. Eurosport already shows Formula 1 races in Portugal.
So could Liberty Media be good for Formula One?
The recent domination of Red Bull and now Mercedes has made races all too predictable – Mercedes have won 13 of the 14 races this season. Given that Liberty Media is a media and entertainment group, the hope could be that it will give more consideration to the spectacle offered by F1. Following Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said: “If there is an investor that wants to buy the shares it is good news for Formula One. Maybe it is good news that an American media company buys Formula One. There are things we can learn from the American way, particularly in digital areas.”
Press Association Sport