CVC confirms deal

CVC Capital Partners, Bayerische Landesbank and Bambino Holdings are pleased to announce that a new company, Alpha Prema has reached agreement to acquire Bayerische Landesbank's and the Bambino interests in the Formula One Group. The deal must get approval from the European Union. The shareholders in the new company will be CVC, Bambino, Bernie Ecclestone and "the Formula One management team". It is not clear who this is and the new company says that this information is confidential, which does not suggest that the new arrangement is going to be any more transparent than the previous one. We hear that a couple of the F1 teams may be involved. The exact shareholdings are not yet clear but what is certain is that JP Morgan and Lehmann Brothers each hold 14.175% of the business, which translates to 28.35% of the company. However neither of these banks has any voting rights as these were recently sold to Bayerische Landesbank. The rest (71.65%) is what is being divided up by new group with CVC taking a majority, Ecclestone increasing his involvement and the mysterious "Formula One management team" joining the party.

As part of the new deal Ecclestone (75) will stay on as chief executive on the board with Gerhard Gribkowsky, a Bayern executive (an odd thing given that the company has sold its shares), Donald Mackenzie of CVC and a representative of Bambino.

The deal must also be ratified by the FIA which has a right of veto as there has been a change in control of the Formula One group.

"We await full and final details which will be considered by the FIA Senate and World Motor Sport Council in due course," said a spokesman.

The Grand Prix Manufacturers Association has also reacted to the news.

"We look forward to entering into a constructive dialogue with Alpha Prema as we pursue our objective to further develop the sport for the benefit of all stakeholders and in particular the fans. Meanwhile, the GPMA and its operating partner iSe will continue the preparations for the new series."

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