It may have seemed far-fetched when the news first broke, and Bernie Ecclestone may think it will never amount to anything, but the reports of a plan to buy-out Formula 1 have proven factual.
The initial reports indicated that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, together with an unnamed second investor (speculated to be connected to Ferrari), were looking into acquiring the commercial rights to the premier motor racing series, which are currently held by CVC Capital and directed by Ecclestone. That second party turns out the be Exor, the investment company owned by the Agnelli family and chaired by its scion John Elkann, who also heads up the Fiat Group... which in turn owns Ferrari.
Exor has confirmed that it and News Corp are interested in buying all or part of the F1 business, although it admits that its interest alone won't necessarily lead to the deal's completion. After all, CVC would have to be willing to sell, and sources don't expect that to come any time soon. But then, everything has its price.
The notion of Ferrari's owners also owning F1, of course, will lead to much speculation, particularly since the team's former chief executive Jean Todt already presides over the FIA, the body which governs everything about the sport that Formula One Management doesn't. Follow the jump for the brief announcement from Exor.
EXOR, one of Europe's largest listed investment companies, and News Corporation, the global media group, confirm 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 One in the interests of the participants and the fans.
Over the coming weeks and months, EXOR and News Corporation will approach potential minority partners and key stakeholders in the sport. There can be no certainty that this will lead to an approach to Formula One's current owners.
Turin/London, May 3, 2011