CVC deny plans to sell F1

209303Formula One’s commercial rights holder CVC Capital Partners has dismissed speculation, triggered by comments from FIA president Max Mosley, that it is about to sell the sport and replace Bernie Ecclestone.

Rumours have been doing the rounds for several weeks now that the investment company, which owns around 70% of the Formula One Group, is looking to sell-off its shareholding of the sport.

Max Mosley fuelled the speculation further this week when he told journalists in Monaco that CVC could sell-up if they received an offer from a “sovereign wealth fund”. Mosley also contemplated the ramifications of such a move on the future of Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula One Group.

“They [CVC Capital Partners] tell me that they are in no hurry,” disclosed Mosley. “They haven’t got any plan to sell, and last time I spoke to them I said, what if a sovereign wealth fund came along with a huge amount of money? They said they would be tempted but they say they don’t have any plans to sell it.”

“They want to stabilise it. And I don’t know this, but I suspect, that part of it will be where Bernie has been replaced. If someone wanted to buy it at the moment then the whole business depends on a man who is 78 years ago…”

The speculation has prompted CVC to issue a statement rebuffing the rumours that they are about to relinquish control of the Formula One Group.

“Following recent press speculation CVC is pleased to clarify a number of matters,” said the private equity company. “We have no plans to sell our stake in Formula 1. We see our investment as long term and we are pleased with its performance to date.”

And in response to claims that they were about to replace Bernie Ecclestone CVC added: “The Formula One Group continues to be led by Bernie Ecclestone, there are no plans to replace him and we are delighted with the results of the business under his management.

“The Formula One Group has an agreement in place for 2008 – 2012 which governs the division of income generated by the sport, by way of prize fund.”