The well-known motorsport competition has been recently courted by John Malone’s Liberty Global Plc and Discovery Communications Inc., with the two working together to take a 49 % stake in the series, according to sources.
The people, who have been briefed on the plans but declined to be named because the process is still private and might not even see a deal being reached, disclosed that Liberty and Discovery are negotiating with CVC Capital Partners and Lehman Brothers – with the first owning 35.5 % of the Formula 1 auto-racing series, while the bankrupt Lehamn holding 15.3 %. According to the sources, the talks have hit a snag, as both Liberty Global and Discovery want to give only $4 billion for the whole stake, while the latter think their half of the business is worth an extra $500 million – valuing Formula 1 at $9 billion.
The three people that have knowledge of the matter did say that despite the pricing difference, the talks have a solid base and have been progressing so far, with Liberty Global and Discovery aiming for the acquisition in order to bring more sports content to their European cable-TV ownerships. Discovery for instance has already made earlier this year a 51% investment into the European sports media group Eurosport International.