Bernie Ecclestone says Formula One is not for sale and my question is: how does he know?
For starters, everything in the world is for sale — if the price is right.
Second, there are now so many layers of ownership of F1 that a potential buyer could be talking to someone in one layer and the other layers might not know about it.
Translation: F1 is owned by the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd., which bought most of SLEC (a holding company) from Ecclestone back in 2006.
Third, although Ecclestone still has enormous influence, he's an employee of CVC these days and might not be entirely in the loop on something like this.
The news broke last night (Tuesday) that News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomorate, is in talks to purchase F1 with the help of partners. The stages of the talks were described as “embryonic.”
(So, some guy from Murdoch’s office calls some guy at CVC and says, “We’d like to talk to you about maybe buying Formula One,” and the CVC guy says, “Oh, okay.” Now, that's “embryonic.”)
In any event, Formula One racing — after the Olympics (only held every two years) and the World Cup of football/soccer (every four years) — is the world’s most-watched and followed sport. So it only follows that a corporation that has holdings in television, newspapers, radio and the Internet might be interested in its content.
But Bernie says no. “Total rubbish,” he told Britain’s Telegraph Sport.
P.S. It was reported today that F1 owner CVC recorded losses of $660 million last year on costs associated with a $2.5 billion loan the firm took out to pay for the acquisition of Formula One.