Banks bid for Kirch's SLEC shares

THREE of the banks that were owed billions of dollars by the Kirch media empire are thought to have made a bid for the group's 58% steak in SLEC, the company that owns the commercial rights to Formula One.

Bayrische Landesbank, JP Morgan Chase and Lehman Brothers are trying to acquire the F1 rights in order to sell them off to the car manufacturers and recover some of the loss they incurred when the Kirch empire went into receivership two weeks ago.

Fiat, BMW, Daimler-Chrysler, Renault, Ford and Toyota have been putting into place the foundation of a new championship (the GPWC), planned to begin in 2008 if they are not able to get more of the lucrative television money brought in by F1. If the rival series goes ahead, and the major manufacturers pull out of F1, the SLEC shares will be virtually worthless, so the banks will need to sell the shares to the manufacturers for whatever they can get if they plan to recover anything.

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