US firm Liberty Media buying Formula One auto racing series

London, Sep 8 (AP) Formula One is being bought by Liberty Media, a US company that invests in entertainment and sports,
for USD 4.4 billion.

Liberty Media Corp, which is controlled by 75-year-old tycoon John Malone, has ended years of uncertainty about the ownership of the auto racing series with yesterday's deal.

There will be continuity, with long-standing commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone remaining the chief executive officer of F1.

But the 85-year-old Ecclestone will have to work under a new chairman: Chase Carey, the executive vice chairman of Rupert Murdoch's entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox.

Formula One has hundreds of millions of fans, and Carey said in a statement that he sees opportunity to develop it.

Liberty said it has initially purchased a minority stake of 18.7 per cent for USD 746 million. A buyout is expected to be completed by March 2017. F1's biggest current shareholder, investment fund CVC Capital Partners, and the other sellers will still own 65 per cent of Formula One Group stock, and retain board representation. But CVC, which first invested in F1 in 2005, is ceding control of the sport to Malone's Liberty, which has all the voting shares.

The company says the deal values Formula One at USD 8 billion, including debt.

Malone also owns Major League Baseball team Atlanta Braves and has stakes in radio company Sirius XM and European
telecom company Liberty Global, US cable company Charter and various cable-TV companies. 

PTI