PARIS: Formula One’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), said Thursday it had approved Liberty Media’s $8 billion takeover of the sport.
“The World Motor Sport Council has unanimously approved the change of control of Delta Topco Limited (the holding company of the Formula One Group and rights holder) from CVC Capital Partners in favour of Liberty Media Corporation,” a statement read following an extraordinary meeting in Geneva.
The deal involves the transfer of 100 percent of the shares in Delta Topco, in which FIA has a one percent stake, to Liberty Media Group.
The decision had been a formality after Liberty Media shareholders had approved the deal, first mooted in September, Tuesday.
The transaction means control of the sport passes to the group of billionaire John Malone.
Liberty announced four months ago it had struck an agreement to buy out Formula One’s parent company from
CVC Capital, and had already acquired an initial minority stake of 18.7 percent.
“The World Motor Sport Council’s decision confirms the FIA’s belief that Liberty, as a renowned media organisation with expertise in both sport and entertainment, is clearly well positioned to ensure the continued development of its pinnacle Championship.
The takeover will give the US firm control of a global and highly profitable sport that rakes in billions from advertisers and broadcasting rights.
Formula One-branded merchandise also brings in millions, but some F1 teams are plagued by financial problems and the sport has limited activity in the social and digital media platforms crucial to courting the next generation of fans.
In September, Liberty said it would keep longtime Formula One mastermind Bernie Ecclestone, 86, but it also said it would install 21st Century Fox vice chairman Chase Carey as the sport’s new chairman.
FIA first ceded commercial rights to F1 in 1995 for 15 years and then extended the deal by a century from 2000 under the governance of former FIA president, British lawyer Max Mosley.