Formula One (F1)

Liberty Media shareholders approve acquisition of US$8 billion Formula One

Deal which was announced in September is expected to be finalised before the end of the first quarter of this year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 9:27am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 3:54pm

Liberty Media stockholders on Tuesday approved measures relating to the company’s pending acquisition of Formula One, moving a step closer to sealing a deal that must still be agreed by the International Automobile Federation.

At the meeting in Englewood, Colorado, stockholders approved a proposal on issuing of shares related to the deal, which was announced in September, and approved the creation of the “Liberty Formula One Group”.

Liberty said the acquisition, which values Formula One at US$8 billion, is expected to be finalised before the end of the first quarter of this year.

In a deal that ended years of speculation over the future of Formula One, US billionaire John Malone’s Liberty said in September they had struck an agreement to buy out Formula One’s parent company from CVC Capital, and had already acquired a minority stake of 18.7 per cent.

The takeover gives the US firm control of a global and highly profitable sport that currently includes 21 races per year and rakes in billions from advertisers and broadcasting rights.

Formula One-branded merchandise also brings in millions, but some teams are plagued by financial problems and the sport has limited activity in the social and digital media platforms crucial to courting the next generation of fans.

It’s a deal: John Malone’s Liberty Media buys Formula One, and keeps Bernie Ecclestone on as CEO

In September Liberty said they would keep longtime Formula One mastermind Bernie Ecclestone, 86, but it also said it would install 21st Century Fox vice chairman Chase Carey as the sport’s new chairman.

Carey, eased out of power by a change of succession at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, has a proven record in expansive sport-media growth, and expertise in the value and exploitation of sports rights, notably in the US market.