NOVEMBER 25, 2005
SLEC sold again
The Ecclestone Family and BayernLB, the major shareholders in SLEC, the Formula One group holding company, are selling their shares to a venture capital company called CVC Capital Partners. The price has not been made public but is believed to be in the region of $1bn. It is expected that Ecclestone will still act as chairman and chief executive of the business. CVC is still talking to Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan about acquiring their shareholdings, but these amount to slightly less than 25%. Bayern's Gerhard Gribkowsky, the current chairman of SLEC, will continue to lead negotiations with the carmakers, who are threatening to start their own series in 2008.
CVC was founded in 1981 as Citicorp's European private equity arm, it underwent a management buyout in 1993 and is now owned by its management, which is led by Michael Smith. The company recently closed a new $7.2bn fund and was looking to invest the money in businesses with market leading positions, with strong management teams, stable cashflows and above average returns on investment. Among the companies which are or have been managed by CVC are the Automobile Association, Kwik-Fit, Debenhams, Halfords, the national post office of Denmark and, perhaps most significantly, Dorna, the Spanish firm which organises and manages the commercial rights of the FIM MotoGP series.
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