News Corp, Ferrari shareholder looking into F1 bid UPDATE News Corporation's confirmed interest in gaining control of the sport from current majority owners CVC Capital Partners has been boosted with the revelation that an American 'boutique merchant bank' has come on-board.
The grand prix paddock has been abuzz in recent weeks with talk that Rupert Murdoch's global media empire is evaluating making a bid to seize the F1 reins, and News Corp has confirmed the speculation – adding that a somewhat controversial partner in the consortium is Exor, an Italian financial holding majority-owned by the same Agnelli family as wields a controlling stake in FIAT and therefore, by extension, Ferrari. There have also been rumors about the possible involvement of TELMEX billionaire Carlos Slim.
The latest development, according to SPEED.com, is that the New York-based Raine Group LLC is interested in joining the potential buy-in. Co-founder and CEO Jeff Sine was previously associated with F1 sponsor UBS, and Sky News reports that he has made contact with News Corp and Exor regarding a possible investment. The Financial Times claims Raine – affiliated with similarly New York-based global sports and media company IMG – has $500 million available to spend on sports, media and entertainment acquisitions.
One of Raine's investors, intriguingly, is Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala, which owns a sizeable stake of Mercedes Grand Prix and has links to Ferrari – making it a powerful backer indeed. Amongst Raine's most prominent financiers include Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, former Facebook president Sean Parker, ex-Yahoo chief executive Terry Semel and Netscape founder Marc Andreesen. Erstwhile Goldman Sachs partner Joe Ravitch is also a key player, whilst several Hollywood stars have investments in the bank. 05/03/11 Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and an investment company linked to Ferrari are working on a bid to take over Formula One. In a joint statement, Italian investment firm Exor and News Corp. say they “are in the early stages of exploring the possibility of creating a consortium with a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of Formula One.”
The statement adds that “over the coming weeks and months, EXOR and News Corporation will approach potential minority partners and key stakeholders.”
Exor is the leading shareholder in the Fiat Group, which owns F1 team Ferrari.
F1 is currently owned by private equity firm CVC Capital.