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Old 26th November 2005, 09:35   #1
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Exclamation bernie lets it go of F1

check this out guys....Bernie's 30-year Formula 1 reign ends
By Russell Hotten (Filed: 26/11/2005)

Bernie Ecclestone relinquished his 30-year control of Formula One yesterday when the private equity group CVC bought a majority stake, in a move that could end a long-term feud over the future of the sport.

CVC is now to seek urgent talks with the carmakers that control some of F1's top teams over their threat to start a breakaway series.

Bernie Ecclestone: No financial details were disclosed
However, the CVC announcement was met yesterday with a cool response from the carmakers.

Under the deal CVC is buying the controlling interest in SLEC - the main holding company for F1 commercial rights - from German bank BayernLB and Mr Ecclestone's family trust Bambino Holdings. No financial details about the deal were disclosed.

CVC's immediate task is to open talks with the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association, made up of five team-owners, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Honda and Toyota. They have vowed to start a rival racing series from 2007.

Yesterday, GPMA said it looked forward "to entering a constructive dialogue" with CVC, but warned that it will "continue preparation for the new series". GPMA wants changes in F1's corporate structure and a bigger slice of the revenues. It feels that a global business like F1 needs a proper corporate structure, and importantly a clear line of management succession.

The Williams grand prix team, part-owned by BMW, said yesterday that the CVC deal was "positive for the sport".

Donald Mackenzie, a CVC director, said in a statement: "CVC has given its full support to the current discussions between Formula One, the teams and manufacturers to enable a successful extension of the current Concorde Agreement [the contract between the teams and F1 management]."

Mr Ecclestone said: "We are delighted to have CVC as a shareholder whose long-term strategies and vision will provide the stability for teams, promoters and manufacturers. They are knowledgeable about motor sport and make an ideal partner for F1."

However, CVC, which also owns the rights to world championship motorcycling, takes control of F1 at a difficult time.

In addition to the GPMA dispute, the sport has seen sponsorship money and TV audiences in Europe fall.

A new company, Alpha Prema, has been formed, in which CVC will control 68pc, with 38pc owned by Bambino and other Ecclestone interests. Mr Ecclestone, 75, will be chief executive and retain day-to-day running of the sport, CVC said.

Alpha must now negotiate the purchase of the 19pc minority stakes in SLEC held by JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers. CVC sources said yesterday that the firm's control of F1 was "a done deal" and unaffected by the minority shareholders. Neither bank was willing to comment yesterday.

Bayern, and the two US banks, inherited their stakes in SLEC after the collapse of Germany's Kirch Group three years ago. There followed a protracted dispute over who really controlled F1.

Nicky Samengo-Turner, a F1 financial adviser at JRBH Automotive, worked with Robin Saunders, the former WestLB financier, to buy F1 earlier this year. Their proposed deal involved including the F1 teams in the purchase.

Yesterday, Mr Samengo-Turner said: "The teams have missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to take control."

Mr Ecclestone, the son of a trawler captain who left school at 16, is the architect of modern day F1, becoming one of Britain's wealthiest businessmen on the back of the TV rights and merchandising.

it is from telegraph.co.uk
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Old 2nd December 2005, 15:14   #2
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his reign hasnt ended..
he still manages day to say activities of the sport
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