|Greg Maffei and Liberty still want to buy IndyCar. Will Penske remove the domestic shackles that so limit its growth potential?|
UPDATE Will Roger Penske, like the Hulman George family, keep IndyCar a small domestic racing series, or will he see the light and eventually sell out to Liberty so the series can grow into a global powerhouse.
Penske was always against overseas races, so the word in the paddock is that he will keep IndyCar a domestic series, which has very limited growth potential given the shrinking USA motorsports fanbase.
Someday, should he come to his senses – Liberty still wants to buy IndyCar.
Though nothing ultimately came of it the first two times they tried to buy IndyCar, Liberty is not giving up, based on comments by Greg Maffei to investors.
"We continue to look for M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and synergistic investments," he said.
"We think there are things we can do. We like the live event area. We like the sports area. There are things that are synergistic with Formula 1. We bid on a bunch of assets.
"Unfortunately prices remain high," he admitted, "We will see but there are things we think we will do over the next four years in this space and we will certainly try."
12/20/19 Turns out this rumor we had in 2017, and even before that was 'fact' but now Penske bought it. Shortly after Liberty Media bought F1 in early 2017 it was revealed that the company had been looking at other race series to buy to complement its purchase of the pinnacle of motor sport.
Talking to investors, Liberty's chief executive Greg Maffei put forward the idea of "potentially expanding Formula One into other motor sports".
"That could be interesting," he said. "Ones where we have synergies. Ones where we are starting to get some insights.
"There are emerging sports that could be as well," he added, admitting that “starting with motor (racing) would be the most natural but that’s not to say there’s nothing else that could work."
It was widely assumed that the series Liberty was eyeing was IndyCar, a move given added impetus in the years that followed when Sky, in the UK, began broadcasting IndyCar on its F1 channel, a move unthinkable under the old (F1) management.
As it happens, the series, along with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was recently sold to former F1 team owner and all-round racing legend Roger Penske, however, following completion of the deal the Associated Press reported that "investment bank Allen & Co. was tasked with finding either a buyer or strategic partner and connected the family with Liberty Media".
According to Forbes, Talking at a recent investors conference Maffei admitted that his company was still on the look-out. "We continue to look for M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and synergistic investments," he said. "We think there are things we can do. We like the live event area. We like the sports area. There are things that are synergistic with Formula One. We bid on a bunch of assets.
"Unfortunately prices remain high," he admitted, "we will see but there are things we think we will do over the next four years in this space and we will certainly try."
Maffei's comment about the prices remaining high would fit perfectly with the Associated Press' claim, regarding the IndyCar sale, that "one person familiar with Liberty's talks said the company balked at an initial asking price of $250 million".
03/13/17 Not content with its purchase of F1, Liberty Media is contemplating other motor sports series. It had tried to buy IndyCar, as reported by AR1.com, over a year ago, but the Hulman George family wanted none of it.
"At the right price, the right opportunity, potentially expanding Formula One into other motor sports, that could be interesting," says Liberty's chief executive Greg Maffei.
"Ones where we have synergies," he continues. "Ones where we are starting to get some insights. There are emerging sports that could be as well."
"I don't see us buying a basketball team or another traditional US opportunity," said Maffei of Liberty's potential to expand into other sports. "Starting with motor (sport) would be the most natural but that's not to say there's nothing else that could work."
Now, Liberty is American, right? And wants to expand in America, right? Wonder if Mr Maffei will make another run at family-owned American series IndyCar. We cannot see the France family letting go of their goldmine, but since they are beginning to run it into the ground, maybe they will throw in the flag and join Liberty.