F1 losses increase under Liberty

Bratches, Carey and Brawn running F1 into financial ruin? To early to say.
Bratches, Carey and Brawn running F1 into financial ruin? To early to say.

Liberty Media revealed that its Formula One Group "burned up" net losses of $160M in the first nine months of '17, fueled by increased costs and "high-octane" interest payments on loans held by the auto racing series that after which it is named, according to Christian Sylt for FORBES.

In January, Liberty bought 100% of F1’s parent company, Delta Topco, for $4.6B from a consortium of sellers led by private equity firm CVC. Liberty was paid in cash, shares and a loan which could be exchanged for shares.

These shares are listed on the NASDAQ exchange as FWONK. The shares have "surged" 76.2% in value since Liberty announced its F1 takeover in Sept. '16. However, over the past month, they have declined by 3.9% to close at $37.45 on Friday, and Delta Topco’s former owners are not "waiting around for further gains."

They were initially given shares which represented 64.7% of total but a statement from Liberty on Thursday revealed that "almost all of them have sold up."

The "biggest beneficiary" was CVC, as it has pocketed $846.3M from selling its FWONK shares.

It "boosted an already high-octane return." Before the sale to Liberty, CVC made an estimated $4.4B on the $965M it invested to buy F1 in '05.

Next in line is Kansas-based asset manager Waddell & Reed which has made $407.1M from selling its shares, "bringing its return so far" to $1.7B. It is "unclear why so many of the former shareholders have sold up but there is no doubt that F1 is facing a number of obstacles." Despite "being in the driving seat for nearly a year," Liberty has not yet signed any major sponsors or new races. More from Christian Sylt/Forbes

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