Hong Kong group to buy F1 for $1 billion

UPDATE We are dropping this rumor to 'speculation.' Bernie Ecclestone responded with caution to the Sunday Telegraph's bombshell that Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa had made a $1bn bid to buy Formula One.

''I'm happy with the banks,'' the F1 supremo said. ''Why do I want to change the shareholders we've got for shareholders we don't know?''

07/24/05 A Hong Kong conglomerate is in talks to buy F1 for a reported $1 billion. The 'Sunday Telegraph' said Hutchison Whampoa, owned by Li Ka-Shing, is negotiating with the three banks that currently hold a 75 per cent stake in Bernie Ecclestone's company.

Representatives of 'Tom Group' – a subsidiary – have also met with the F1 impresario, who holds the other shares.

''Hutchison … sees great potential for F1 in Asia,'' a banker close to the negotiations told the newspaper. "The banks are quite happy to sell out.''

Hutchison, owner of '3' – the mobile phone company – will not buy the banks' stake without Bernie's backing. ''Tom wants him to continue doing what he does best,'' the unnamed 'banker' continued.

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