Much as everyone figured, Formula One has been sold to Liberty Media, in a deal that values the racing series at $8 billion.
The agreement largely resembles the reports detailed earlier this week, when news broke that American billionaire John Malone was considering bringing Formula One into the folds of his Liberty Media conglomerate. Under the terms of the deal, Malone's media group will immediately purchase 18.7 percent of Formula One from current majority stakeholder CVC for $746 million in cash, with the rest of the transaction conducted in an exchange of cash and shares by the beginning of next year. Once the deal is finished, Liberty Media Group, which owns or has interests in a broad variety of other media companies, will be renamed the Formula One Group.
The move is expected to extend Formula One's reach in the North American market, with at least one analyst suggesting it could expand the sport's reach into younger audiences.
"If you had to write down a list of who you would want to buy Formula One, Liberty would be top of that list," Zak Brown, CEO of CSM Sport&Entertainment, said to Automotive News. "They will be making decisions that are strategic-led, what's best for the growth of the sport and the fans and the sponsors."
As expected, NewsCorp exec Chase Carey has been selected to serve as Formula One's new chairman. And as expected, 85-year-old Bernie Ecclestone will remain on as the chief executive officer of the racing series, a title we at The Drive fully expect him to maintain until he dies...assuming, of course, he didn't arrange for immortality in some sort of Faustian swap.