Bernie EcclestoneEnlarge Photo
According to Today Online, F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone is estimating that the IPO will be worth $10 billion, and it will be for just part of private equity firm CVC Capital Partner’s stake in the sport. CVC currently owns 63.4-percent of F1, having acquired its shares in a leveraged buyout in 2005 and 2006.
Under the terms of the proposed sale, teams Ferrari and Red Bull would be offered a “special shareholding,” likely in response to the teams’ departure from the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) last December. That would give seats on the board of directors to Ferrari and Red Bull, but not to teams like McLaren or Mercedes-Benz.
The IPO would likely be listed in Singapore, which would appeal to F1’s growing fan base in the Asia Pacific region. Singapore is competing with Hong Kong to cement its position as the dominant stock exchange in Asia, and it’s also trying hard to brand itself as a destination for the ultra-wealthy.
While an F1 IPO is new, a sale of CVC’s shares was rumored to be in the works last May. Per Bloomberg, both Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and European investment group Exor (owned by Italy’s Agnelli family) were said to be interested. Ultimately, nothing materialized from the rumors, but a sale could have led to control of the sport’s valuable commercial rights.