JULY 18, 2001
The curious case of Herr Becker
AS the jockeying for position continues within SLEC, Formula 1's rights-holding company, it seems that a novel twist is in the offing courtesy of Thomas Haffa, the boss of struggling German media giant EM.TV.
EM.TV's collapse brought Leo Kirch's rival empire in to F1, ultimately taking a 75% stake in Formula 1's commercial interests, after buying 57% of EM.TV and therefore control of its 50% of SLEC, plus then buying the remaining 25% of the company offered under option from Bernie Ecclestone's Bambino Trust.
Now it seems that Haffa is seeking to part with his remaining 43% of EM.TV, for which a bid has been put in by Nikolaus Becker, a former EM.TV chairman, although quite whom Herr Becker is representing is at the present time unclear.
There is a school of thought, however, which suggests that Herr Becker's backers might well be representatives of the Association of European Automobile Constructors, the five-manufacturer consortium of BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Ford and Renault that is attempting to buy into F1's commercial income.
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