CVC. To those familiar with the commercial side of things, those letters are synonymous with Formula One. But they weren't always, and they may not be forever. In fact, it is almost assured that the day will come when CVC Capital Partners will sell its majority stake in the premier racing series. The only question is to whom.

At one point, a significant portion of F1's shares were owned by the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman (whose founder F. Warren Hellman just passed away before this was written). Based in San Francisco, the firm owns such properties as Getty Images (where the above image was acquired, incidentally), Securitas Direct alarm systems and television ratings company Nielsen. But back in 2000, it bought over a third of F1's shares, only to sell them three months later for a tidy profit.

Now reports are circulating that Hellman & Friedman could be interested in buying all or part of F1 back from the current owners. For its part, CVC will reportedly be required to sell by 2018, at which point its current estimated value of over $6 billion is sure to rise just as it has from the $1.7b for which it originally bought its 69.6% stake in 2006.


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