Ecclestone concludes Formula One rights sale

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The Independent Online

The private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has completed its acquisition of the Formula One Group, a few days after the European Commission gave the go-ahead to the deal, subject to CVC selling its Spanish subsidiary, Dorna, which promotes the MotoGP championship.

The EU's stipulation came because of concerns that having one parent company controlling both Formula One and MotoGP rights might reduce competition in the sale of television rights in Spain and Italy, where both championships attract big audiences. Alpha Prema, a new company and subsidiary of CVC, will now control Formula One's commercial rights after completing a buy-out of the SLEC holding company, which was previously owned by Bernie Ecclestone and the Bavarian bank BayernLB.

Ecclestone is expected to remain at the helm of the business as chief executive, while his family trust, Bambino Holdings, will retain an unspecified stake. "We look forward to working with Bernie Ecclestone and his team to further develop and grow the business," said CVC's Donald Mackenzie.

Alpha Prema's first task as Formula One's commercial rights holder will be to agree a deal with the manufacturers and avoid a breakaway championship. However, with the five dissenting companies - BMW, Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and Renault - confirming their entry for the 2008 world championship on Monday, those talks now appear to be a formality.