Auto Giants Mull Takeover of Formula One

08 March 2002

Ailing German media giant Kirch Gruppe may receive a bid for its majority stake in Formula One motor racing from an alliance comprising minority shareholder Bernie Ecclestone and the auto manufacturers that compete in the sport.

Desperate for cash to cover obligations connected with other parts of its business, Kirch recently admitted it would have to consider offloading its 75% holding in SLEC, owner of commercial rights to F1.

The manufacturers – Renault, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Ford and Fiat – and Ecclestone are reported to be preparing a joint bid for the shares, though at a price well below the $2 billion (£1.4bn; €2.3bn) Kirch paid for them, and possibly as low as $800 million.

Should the deal go ahead, it could resolve a struggle for power over F1 between Kirch and the auto firms, the latter having threatened to set up a rival championship in 2008 [WAMN: 28-Nov-01].

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff