Rupert Murdoch owned media giant News Corp and Italian investment company Exor, who have strong ties with leading Formula One marquee Ferrari, confirmed yesterday, May 3, that they are collaborating on a possible bid to take over the sport.
CVC Partners, the championship’s parent company has insisted that it is not looking to sell, and FIA chief Bernie Ecclestone has also played down the likelihood of an agreement.
John Elkann is CEO of Exor and also chairman of Fiat, the owner of Ferrari. Exor is controlled by the Agnelli family, who also own Serie A soccer club Juventus.
In a joint statement, News Corp and Exor stated that they “are in the early stages of exploring the possibility of creating a consortium with a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of Formula 1 in the interests of the participants and the fans”.
The statement added: “Exor and News Corp will approach minority partners and key stakeholders in the sport. There can be no certainty that this will lead to an approach to F1’s current owners.”
Last month, Ecclestone, who runs F1 on behalf of CVC, said reports that News Corporation was in talks to buy F1 were “rubbish”. However, since then, CVC has confirmed that it had received a “friendly” approach from the Exor-News Corp consortium.
A statement from CVC read: “(News Corp chairman and CEO) James Murdoch has informed us that the approach is friendly, and that they acknowledge that Formula One is privately owned by CVC and not currently for sale. Any investment in Formula One will require CVC’s agreement and will need to demonstrate that it is in the interest of the sport and its stakeholders, taken as a whole.”