Liberty Media claims regulatory approval for F1 takeover

Liberty Media has said it has received the necessary clearance from anti-trust authorities that will enable it to proceed with its takeover of the Formula 1 world championship.

Liberty Media said in a statement that all required approvals have been gained from all appropriate anti-trust authorities in connection with the pending acquisition.

This is the first in a three-step process with the takeover still conditional upon approval by Liberty Media’s stockholders of the issuance of Series C common stock shares in connection with the acquisition at a special meeting scheduled for January 17. The takeover also needs approval from the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body of Formula One.

Liberty Media’s announcement comes after it last week unveiled details of an investment initiative worth $1.55bn (€1.45bn) that is designed to aid the takeover. Liberty Media said it had entered into agreements with seven third-party investment groups to commit $1.55bn in subscriptions for newly issued shares of its Series C Liberty Media common stock (LMCK).

These entities are Coatue Management; the D. E. Shaw group; JANA Partners; Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb; Soroban Capital Partners; SPO Advisory Corp and Viking Global Investors. The issuance of the shares of LMCK to the group will be granted concurrently with the completion of the Formula One acquisition.

Liberty Media in September confirmed it had agreed a deal with a consortium led by private equity fund CVC Capital Partners to acquire Formula One.

Liberty, which is owned by media mogul John Malone, paid $4.4bn to purchase an initial 18.7-per-cent stake in the series and is set to acquire the remaining shareholding in 2017. The agreement valued the series at $8bn.

In its latest statement, Liberty Media said the acquisition is still expected to close before the end of the first quarter in 2017.