Kirch confirms Formula One takeover

THE Kirch group has confirmed that is now controls 58.3% of SLEC, the holding company of the Formula One group of companies. The shareholding has been acquired from Kirch's former partner EM.TV. The announcement marks the completion of a transaction which increase Kirch's share in Speed Investments (which owns 75% of SLEC) from 49% to 77.7%, which equates to 58.3% of SLEC. EM.TV retains 22.3% of Speed, which means 16.7% of SLEC. The Ecclestone Family maintains its 25% share of SLEC and we understand that there is a shareholders agreement which leaves Bernie Ecclestone to run the company on a day-to-day basis.

Kirch said in a statement that it wishes to increase it stake further. But control of Formula One guarantees very little after the end of the current Concorde Agreement in 2007 as the car manufacturers are threatening to start their own World Championship in order to get more back from the sport which they have helped Ecclestone to build up.

It should be noted that Kirch's borrowings are being investigated by the German bank regulator at the moment because of the scale of the recent borrowings.

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