Formula 1

Liberty Media share offer, not taken up by F1 teams

1 Mins read
World © Octane Photographic Ltd. Chase Carey - Vice Chairman of the 21st Century Fox media conglomerate and the Chairman of the Formula One Group/Liberty Media. Saturday 26th November 2016, F1 Abu Dhabi GP - Paddock, Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi. Digital Ref : 1764LB1D9532

F1 teams have rebuffed the chance to become shareholders in the sport, an offer that was proffered up by new majority owners Liberty Media recently.

Having now completed their takeover of F1, Liberty has made the first steps towards showing the teams that they are important to the future of the sport, by allowing them the chance to purchase up to a 20% stake in the commercial rights.

However, teams would have no right to vote or influence the decision-making process as part of the arrangement, and that fact appears to have been a deal breaker for the F1 squads.

Liberty Media had set aside $400 million of shares in Formula 1 for teams to purchase, which they will hold onto for six months before retiring them if they are not snapped up.

The American company made the proposition, in a bid to make the sport fairer, and confirmed in a statement that they would finance the deal by selling $400m of its 1.0% cash convertible senior notes, which will mature on Jan. 30, 2023.

“The shares will be reserved by Liberty for issuance to the F1 teams at a per share purchase price of $21.26.”

New F1 Chairman Chase Carey had been under the impression that the teams were interested in investing, but the hesitant response from team owners indicates otherwise.

Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper recently “I honestly don’t know if I should buy shares”, whilst revealed that a source from one top team was not impressed with the offer on the table.

“Without influence on the future direction and marketing of Formula One, purchasing shares is not very attractive for us.”

Due to the costs involved in making such a purchase, it was never likely the smaller teams in the paddock could afford such a payment anyway, which makes Liberty’s first foray into being more inclusive somewhat misjudged.

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