Bernie, bank, sell F1

UPDATE This rumor is now upgraded to 'fact.' Bernie Ecclestone and a German bank confirmed early on Friday afternoon that the majority of F1 has been sold to 'CVC Capital Partners'.

A joint statement said Ecclestone, 75, would retain a small stake and stay as CEO of the F1 company.

The move gives CVC, a British company that buys other companies to 'build businesses in partnership with management', control of F1.

Bernie held 25 per cent of the sport's commercial stake, and Bayerische Landesbank's share – the biggest out of three equity-owning banks – was estimated at about 50 per cent.

11/25/05 It is believed that Bernie Ecclestone is in the process of selling his 25 per cent share in the formula one business.

Media sources are also reporting that German investment bank 'Bayerische Landesbank' – sharing a 75 per cent stake with two American banks – is also selling.

The buyer is CVC Capital Partners, a British investment company dedicated to private equity. ''We buy companies to build businesses in partnership with management,'' a description on '' says.

It is not known how much CVC paid for the at least 75 per cent stake in formula one, and no party has yet commented. Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase, the other banks, have not sold but are negotiating with 'CVC'.

One source reckons the stake will have cost CVC around $1bn.

F1 'supremo' Ecclestone, however, will probably remain at the sport's steering wheel.

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