News Corp rumoured to be looking at Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One empire

In an article today, the FT has linked News Corp in tentative talks about being one party in a possible multi- party bid for Formula One. Whilst the company is owned by CVC Capital Partners it is Bernie Ecclestone who remains synonymous with the Formula One brand, or rather institution to its fans.

Formula One is owned by CVC Capital Partners as a result of a $1billion+ institutional buyout back in March 2006. Very soon after this acquisition, CVC also acquired Allsopp Parker & Marsh (APM) and Allsport Management – the significance of these two deals being that APM was the company which marketed and sold Formula One advertising and sponsorship, whereas All Sport provides VIP hospitality at F1 events. Then in 2007 CVC also acquired GP2, a complimentary race series, thus combining the four companies generating all revenues connected with the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Should this deal be anything more than speculative, and according to the article Bernie Ecclestone has already stated that the story is “rubbish”, this could be an interesting tie-up given that News Corp is in the midst of trying to complete its planned bid for full ownership of BskyB. Sports fans all over the world are well aware of the amount of high profile sporting events that have disappeared from free TV to subscription or pay per view and one could see the attraction to Formula One if the sport were to move to this format. Formula One would appear to be a very expensive sport to be involved in, but if you can afford to get involved then it would also appear to be a significant cash cow for many associated with it.

News Corp’s reach via its global TV outlets could provide the sport with new impetus in terms of attracting  wider audiences, something Formula One itself tries to do by continually changing the rules to make the sport more exciting. But that would surely come at a price significantly higher than was paid by CVC back in 2006 and no doubt with an accompanying media circus.

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