Bank aids F1 teams in Ecclestone battle

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The Independent Online
Leading merchant bank Dresdner Kleinwort Benson has been appointed to represent three of the Formula One motor racing teams currently in dispute with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone over the terms of the planned pounds 1.5bn flotation of Formula One Holdings.

Tyrell, Maclaren and Williams, who last year refused to sign the so-called Concorde Agreement governing the split of TV revenues generated by Formula One, are arguing with Mr Ecclestone over the shareout of TV revenues among teams.

The 10 racing teams currently receive 47 per cent of the TV revenues, which form the largest slice of the money generated by the sport. Mr Ecclestone's company, Formula One Holdings, receives the majority share.

The three teams asked DKB to look at the implications of the float in order to protect their interests. DKB would not comment.

Mr Ecclestone is being advised by US securities firm Salomon Brothers. Earlier this month David Wilson, Formula One Holdings' finance director, said there was a simple solution to the dispute over sharing TV revenues: "The logical thing is for all the racing teams to give up part of their share of the TV revenues in exchange for shares in the company."

Mr Ecclestone had hoped to float his company, now owned via a Jersey- based company called Petara and held in a family trust of which his wife Slavica is the chief beneficiary, around the time of the British Grand Prix next month. But the float, if it makes it to the starting grid at all, is unlikely to take place until the Autumn.

As part of the planned float, Mr Ecclestone will give the Federation Internationale d'Automobile (FIA), which governs the sport, 10 per cent of the new company. This would be the FIA's reward for granting Mr Ecclestone a new 25-year licence, which began on 1 January, to manage and exploit Formula One.