Ecclestone skids out of publishing

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The Independent Online

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has closed his monthly magazine, EuroBusiness, marking the end of his mini-publishing empire. He shut his other publication, the glossy F1 magazine, earlier this month.

EuroBusiness staff were told as they were going to press on Monday that it would be the last issue. Mr Ecclestone has been trying to sell the magazine, which had a print run of 80,000, for some months. The Barclay brothers, who are trying to take control of The Telegraph, made an offer but withdrew just before Christmas.

Another bid was tabled in the last few days, but it is understood Mr Ecclestone turned it down because it would not assume all the magazine's liabilities. The title employed eight full-time staff, as well as freelancers.

He has retained the rights to the title but does not think it profitable enough to continue publishing. Its total debt of less than £1m is thought to be almost matched by the money owed to the company. Mr Ecclestone funded the £4m launch of EuroBusiness in 1999 to coincide with the launch of the European single currency. It aimed for a circulation of 110,000.

The news that Mr Ecclestone has closed his F1 magazine comes just two weeks before the start of the Formula One season. The glossy monthly title was thought to have cost over £200,000 an issue to produce. However, it suffered from the downturn in the market for F1 sponsorship.

The magazine also angered rival publishers, who were uncomfortable with Mr Ecclestone's interests in the sport through his Formula One Administration company. It is understood that Mr Ecclestone had spurned approaches from publishing companies Emap and Haymarket, as well as German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, to buy the title.

Mr Ecclestone originally set up the magazine with Tom Rubython, who also launchedSunday Business. The F1 supremo took full control of the title in 2002. The magazine counted Nigel Mansell, the former British F1 champion, as an editor.