JUNE 14, 1999

Bernie's company reshuffle

BERNIE ECCLESTONE has reorganized the structure of his Formula One Holdings group of companies with a new operation FormulaƊOne Management taking over the activities of Formula One Administration. This has been the main operating company for Grand Prix racing in recent years and looks after all negotiations with race promoters and TV companies. It also distributes the F1 prize fund.

The Formula One Holdings group now includes FOM, Formula One Finance, Formula One World Travel, Formula Freight and Formula One Communications. The reason for the change is not clear but it may be related to the tidying up of Ecclestone's company structure in preparation for the future flotation of FOH. It could also be a result of the recent $1.4bn Eurobond issue. There was speculation in Canada that the restructuring could be either the result of - or in preparation for - acquisitions.

While there has been much talk of Ecclestone investing some of his money in race tracks and other sports, it is more likely that Bernie might try to consolidate all F1 earnings in one company. This would make it a much more attractive company when it finally goes to the stock markets. The obvious purchase would be Paddy McNally's Allsport Management. This operation - which is based in Switzerland - looks after the Paddock Club VIP entertainment service and all trackside advertising. These deals bring in tens of millions of dollars every year.

While Bernie's work remains his passion he has used some of the money to buy a 165 ft. motor cruiser which is based in Greece and has a permanent crew of 20. There were suggestions in Canada that Bernie's next purchase might be a Greek island - if only to save on mooring fees...