Qatar looks to take control of Formula One

24 June 2015

Deal could be worth as much as $8bn

  • RSE and Qatar want to buy 35.5 per cent stake owned by CVC Capital Partners in Formula One
  • Bernie Ecclestone says he will sell his 5 per cent stake as part of deal
  • Ecclestone likely to be kept on as Formula One CEO if deal goes ahead

Qatar is teaming up with US sports company RSE Ventures to take over Formula One (F1) in a $7bn-$8bn deal.

Backed by Qatar, RSE Ventures wants to buy the 35.5 per cent stake in F1 that is currently owned by UK holding company CVC Capital Partners.

Speaking about the deal, F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said he would sell his 5 per cent holding along with CVC’s stake.

“My shares will be sold together with theirs,” he said.

“There are three or four people talking to CVC, but I don’t know how close things have got at this stage. If they decide to sell, they will have to tell me because I am a shareholder.”

RSE Ventures is owned by US sports tycoon Stephen Ross, who owns the Miami Dolphins, an American football team.

Ross is keen to keep Ecclestone as CEO if the buyout is successful, according to the UK-based newspaper Financial Times.

Over recent years, Qatar has increased its involvement in global sporting events.

In 2010, it was awarded the right to host the 2022 Fifa football World Cup, triggering a multibillion-dollar infrastructure construction programme to prepare for the event.

In 2011, government-owned investment company Qatar Sports Investments bought the Paris Saint-Germain handball team.

This was followed by the purchase of the Paris Saint Germain football club in 2012, which was valued at $130m at the time.

F1 already has a strong presence in the Middle East, with both Bahrain and Abu Dhabi hosting races in the series.

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