American billionaire in bid to buy Formula One for $8.5bn
The 75-year-old’s Liberty Media, which owns a cohort of media, communication, and entertainment businesses, is said to be in talks with Formula One’s parent company Delta Topco.
It is reported that the American investor could buy the global motor sport in stages and initially only purchase a minor stake in the $8.5 billion business.
However, it is believed that Malone has competition, as a number of other wealthy conglomerates are also interested.
Paris Saint Germain’s owners, Qatar Sports Investments, Apple, and broadcaster Sky are also said to be looking into the acquisition
Delta Topco’s current F1 ownership is split between a number of subsidiaries, with a private equity group called CVC possessing around 35 percent of the shares.
Outspoken racing personality Bernie Ecclestone, who is also the chief executive of Formula One, owns around 20 percent of the business.
The owners have made billions of dollars by selling commercial rights to the sport, including sponsorship deals and television rights, as well as collecting venue charges.
Formula One, which maintains a global following, is considered to be one of the world’s most exhilarating sports, but there have been calls from within for change, as Mercedes has dominated in recent years.
Should Liberty Media complete the deal, it would mean that Formula One would become a listed company on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Malone was also said to have an interest in buying Formula One back in 2014, but a sale price could not be agreed upon at that time.