DECEMBER 19, 2016
Liberty still striding towards F1 takeover
Liberty Media is continuing to formalise its takeover of formula one.
Last week, the company said it had lined up $1.55 billion in investments to support the deal.
"We look forward to closing the transaction in early 2017," said CEO Greg Maffei. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said that is likely to happen in February.
The only hurdle, Ecclestone acknowledged, is potential trouble with anti-competition authorities, but he said last week: "I don't imagine there's any problems."
Indeed, Liberty has now announced that it has now obtained "all required approvals from all appropriate anti-trust authorities".
It acknowledged that FIA approval is still pending.
A meeting has been scheduled for January 17 so that Liberty shareholders can approve the buyout.
"I think it will be the biggest upheaval in formula one in recent years," Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn told Speed Week, referring to Liberty's buyout.
"We always have changes with the rules - sometimes the engine, sometimes the chassis, but we have never had a change like this.
"The last change of ownership was not felt so much because Mr Ecclestone was always there and perhaps was even strengthened in some ways," she added.
But Kaltenborn said she sees the Liberty deal as "absolutely positive" for F1, because it is "the area of commercialisation" that the new owners will tackle.
Indeed, the Telegraph newspaper reports that Liberty is planning races in New York and Los Angeles, and the proposal of team budget caps.
"It makes no sense to have teams spending the better part of $400m," said a well-placed source.