Bernie Ecclestone Era comes to an End With New Title Of ‘Honorary President’ Formula One

“I am simply gone. It’s official. I am no longer the leader of the company. My new position is one of those American terms. It’s something like an honorary president. I have this title now, even though I don’t know what it means.”

An era of Bernie Ecclestone comes to an end it will be made official on Tuesday. t’s understood the change will be formally be announced with the appointments of Ross Brawn and former ESPN man Sean Bratches, who will take up newly created sporting and commercial roles respectively.

It has been a while coming but it is now time to finally move Formula One into the real world. Only last week I sat down at The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto for lunch with IMG-WEM to explore some ideas for the future.

In the past years I brought Bernie YouTube when it was just launched. I told Bernie at that time, “Look Bernie people are gonna come to the races they are gonna film using their smart phone and put it on YouTube. I want to be able to beat them and create our own films for YouTube.” Naturally Bernie had no clue what I was talking about and a few weeks later he called me, “Timothy, there are all kind of videos on YouTube how do I have these removed?”. I suggested to Bernie that he talk to my friends who do copyright for Rolling Stones whom I had introduced to him at a race in Monaco.

Few years later I came to Bernie with Google Earth, then with Live-stream, and more recently use of drones and engaging a new younger fan-base. All these ideas he heard but simply did not get or understand. Unlike President Donald Trump who get’s Twitter, Bernie never could grasp it.

Chase Carey comes from communication. I met Chase long ago at 20th Century Fox Studio in Century City. I would later take to Chase an opportunity presented by David Bowie’s management to sponsor The Rolling Stones ‘Bridge to Babylon’ tour for television rights, and Chase acted on this swiftly.

So now it’s time to open up the game and many more opportunities come into play now because Sean Bratches who comes from ESPN.

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Bernie Ecclestone Three More Years As Boss of F1 and The Reverse Takeover of Liberty Media by F1

“Because all this is going through, they (CVC) want me to be there to help them with all sorts of things. I can’t afford to be away for five to six days” – Bernie Ecclestone

Things are moving along the path that Liberty Media will take control of F1 from private equity group CVC Capital Partners.  Yet anything can happen.  One thing is clear.  Bernie Ecclestone say’s “They want me to be here for three years,” that is one loaded answer could mean anything and the three years better be to Bernie’s liking.

Here is what I can tell you.  Chase Carey, vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox, will become the new chairman.  This is a great thing.  One day when David Bowie’s office called and said ” Hey Tim Rolling Stones need a broadcasting deal”, I took this to Carey who made it happen for the ‘Bridge to Babylon Tour’.  Carey is also a very smart nice guy.

The Deal –

Liberty has already taken an initial 18.7 per cent stake in F1 for $US746 million, paid for in cash to the existing owners of Delta Topco — the holding company of Formula One.

Those owners are:

  • CVC (38.1 per cent) — A private equity firm that invests its clients’ money by buying out businesses and attempting to raise their performance, generally before selling them or listing them on the share market
  • Waddell & Reed (20.5 per cent) — A US-based asset management firm
  • LBI (12.1 per cent)
  • Bambino Holdings (8.4 per cent) — The Ecclestone family trust
  • Norges (4.1 per cent) — The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund
  • Bernie Ecclestone (3.3 per cent) — The man who’s effectively controlled F1 for almost 40 years
  • Management (2.8 per cent)
  • Other (10.6 per cent)

However, once the second stage of the deal goes through Liberty Media will not only own Formula One, but will actually become Formula One — changing its name to Formula One Group (with the share market ticker FWON).

And it isn’t like the existing owners of F1 will just disappear with some cash.

The second part of the deal involves another $US350 million or so worth of cash, but most of the payment to F1’s existing owners will be in newly issued Liberty Media shares.

In fact, F1’s existing owners will have a near 65 per cent economic stake in the new Formula One Group (what is currently Liberty Media), although their shares are non-voting, so the current Liberty shareholders will have control of the business.

 

The first stage of the deal has already been done, with Liberty now already holding its 18.7 per cent stake, while the final stage is expected to complete in the first few months of 2017.

Although the final stage of the deal is subject to approval from competition regulators, approval by Liberty shareholders (which include Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway) and the go-ahead from motorsport’s top governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).


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