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MARCH 21, 2006

Now the FIA must decide

CVC Capital Partners will be allowed to acquire Speed Investments Ltd and thus gain control of SLEC, the holding company of the Formula One group. The European Commission has given its go-ahead to the deal on the understanding that CVC sells Dorna, the company that promotes the MotoGP World Championship.

The decision to force CVC to sell Dorna was taken because of fears that one company having control of both series would mean that there would be the danger of a monopoly in terms of negotiating TV rights and circuits deals.

The deal will result in BayernLB and the Ecclestone Family selling their stakes in SLEC and that means that the company will have a legal change of ownership as it will pass to a new firm called Alpha Prima and thus the FIA must now decide whether the new owners are acceptable under its deal with SLEC over the commercial rights to the sport. This is not expected to create a problem.

The Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association has responded by saying that it welcomes the news.

"Since CVC announced its intention to acquire SLEC, significant progress in the discussions about the commercial future of Formula One has been made," the GPMA said in a statement. "Today's approval was actively supported by the GPMA manufacturers and teams and they are optimistic that it will create additional momentum for the ongoing negotiations."