EM.TV gets out of F1 once and for all

EM.TV & Merchandising has confirmed that it has finally settled on a deal with investment banks Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan to take over the firm's stake in the Formula One group of companies. The company had previously negotiated a deal with BayernLB, the third bank involved in the business. The deal will mean that EM.TV's 16.7% share in the business will be transferred to the banks for only $9.3m. This means that the three banks now have full control of 75% of the business, the remaining 25% being owned by an Ecclestone Family trust.

It remains to be seen whether this tidying up operation will make any difference and on Thursday at Imola FIA President Max Mosley said that he may be wrong in thinking that the various parties involved in negotiations over the future of the sport would eventually get together and find a solution.

"It is beginning to look as though I was wrong and that all parties - Bernie, the manufacturers, the teams and the banks will not reach agreement after all," he told the F1 media. "I am pessimistic that they will reach a compromise and for that reason think that GPWC will happen as they are clearly serious about their series. I don't think there should be two championships, but that's not to say the FIA should stop one of them. We are the governing body of motorsport. But we are merely the regulator and governing body. We have a responsibility to encourage the sport, but not to protect it."

Mosley said that it will be left to market forces to see who survives after the Concorde Agreement expires.

"Between now and the end of 2005 we will announce the Formula 1 World Championship rules for 2008. If they want to run their own series, they are perfectly free to do it - and then competition will follow. One would expect the teams to jump between the two," said Mosley.

Mosley says that it is not clear that all the teams who signed "a memorandum of understanding" last week with the GPWC will actually take part in the GPWC series.

"It depends on who enters the FIA World Championship and who enters their championship," he said.

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