US-Qatar venture set to bid for F1 stake

Date published: June 24 2015

American investment company RSE Ventures, which owns NFL outfit the Miami Dolphins, is reportedly set to join forces with Qatari investors to buy a major stake in Formula 1.

It is believed that Ross' RSE Ventures and Qatar Sports Investments, the group which own football club Paris St-Germain, plan to make a bid for CVC Capital Partners' 35.5 percent stake, a move which would see F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone bought out.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the offer would be in the region of $8 billion. However, this could prove a stumbling block as CVC's chairman Donald Mackenzie believes that the stake is worth considerably more.

CVC have been F1's biggest stake holder for nearly a decade, but having sold some shares last year, the group is now interested in exiting the sport completely.

While CVC and RSE Ventures would not comment on the matter, Ecclestone confirmed that CVC were in negotiations to sell their shares. 

"CVC are in the business of buying and selling companies. The point is that they are very happy with F1 and Donald is not an enthusiastic seller. But their business is selling and everything has a price," said the Briton.

"My shares will be sold together with theirs.

"There are three or four people talking to CVC but I don’t know how close things have got at this stage.

"If they decide to sell, they will have to tell me because I am a shareholder."

The reports come as F1 battles against a consistent drop off in viewership, with Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix reporting a 40 percent drop in spectators.