Ecclestone races home with pounds 54m

Details of the secretive Formula One supremo's pay packet emerge ahead of pounds 1.5bn float

Grand Prix promoter Bernie Ecclestone paid himself an astonishing pounds 54m in the last full financial year before the planned pounds 1.5bn-plus flotation of Formula One Holdings.

Mr Ecclestone's pay is set out in the accounts for the year to 31 March 1996 for Formula One Promotions and Administration, Ecclestone's main company until a recent corporate reorganisation ahead of the float.

The accounts are not yet available at Companies House, but Ecclestone's payment was confirmed by David Wilson, the former Ladbroke senior financial executive who joined Ecclestone a few months ago as finance director of the new Formula One group.

Mr Ecclestone's salary was twice the pounds 27m or so he took out of the business in each of the previous three years. In the four years up to March 1996 Mr Ecclestone paid himself pounds 140m.

The new company is set to go public around the time of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 13 July. The flotation will make the Ecclestone family worth between pounds 750m and pounds 1bn, putting it well up the list of the UK's wealthiest families - assuming the float goes ahead and investors can be persuaded to buy the shares.

Formula One Holdings has grown astonishingly on a high-octane diet of television deals, notably with ITV which is paying many times the amount Mr Ecclestone used to receive from the BBC. Mr Ecclestone also has pay- TV deals across Europe with media giants such as Germany's Kirch, Canal Plus in France and Telepiu in Italy.

Revenue this year is forecast to rise to over pounds 200m, on which pre-tax profit is likely to be around pounds 85m. The revenue figure is more than double the amount last year before the new TV deals were signed.

Recent reports suggest the Kirch pay-TV deal is failing to live up to Mr Ecclestone's hopes. "It's had some teething problems with the timing of the take-up, but there isn't anybody who thinks pay-TV won't happen," said Mr Wilson.

In the short term the Kirch deal has little affect on Mr Ecclestone. According to Mr Wilson, Formula One receives a minimum annual payment plus further sums when revenue gets above a certain figure. "It won't be an issue for 1997 and 1998 as nobody expects to get past the minimum for a few years yet."

Mr Ecclestone employs a team of 200 to run a company-owned film unit which broadcasts six tracks of digital signals for pay-per-view TV. "It takes two and half jumbo jets or 30 articulated lorries to move the team and the equipment," said Mr Wilson.

He rejects rumours that Mr Ecclestone's TV deals are largely word-of- mouth, making the new company hard to value. "Formula One has annual revenues already contracted of pounds 240m a year between now and 2001. What's unusual about this company is just how much future revenue is contracted for and known in advance."

On reports that analysts are moaning about a lack of financial information, Mr Wilson said: "Analysts always ask for more information but I don't think there are any complaints." Analysts working for brokers in the selling syndicate led by Salomon Brothers are expected to produce their reports tomorrow.

"Bernie has always kept a tight rein on all information to protect his position in negotiations with broadcasters, teams and promoters," said Mr Wilson. "Now the company is going public that has to be balanced against the need to be more transparent."

As part of the float the Federation Internationale d'Automobile (FIA) will get 10 per cent of the new company. This is in return for the FIA granting Ecclestone's company a new 25-year licence which began on 1 January this year, to manage and exploit Formula One.

Mr Wilson says the row with Tyrrell, McLaren and Williams over sharing TV revenues is really a row between the Formula One teams. These three teams refused to sign the so-called Concorde deal which gives the 10 Grand Prix teams 47 per cent of TV revenues.

"Seven teams signed the deal and collect revenue," says Mr Wilson. " They're not so keen on the three who refused to sign it now wanting to join up and take a share."

According to Mr Wilson, "the logical thing is for them all to give up part of their share of the TV revenues in exchange for shares in the company".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there