News and Fiat boss confirm F1 interest

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and an investment group run by the chairman of Fiat have confirmed they are interested in buying into Formula 1 auto racing.

News and the Exor investment group issued a joint statement that said they will approach existing minority partners and stakeholders in the sport, but added that this does not guarantee a full takeover approach will be made.

News and Exor jointly said that they are in “the early stages of exploring the possibility of creating a consortium with a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of Formula 1 in the interests of the participants and the fans.”

Exor is controlled by the Italian Agnelli family, which owns the Juventus soccer club. Its CEO, John Elkann, is chairman of Fiat. The Italian car manufacturer owns Ferrari, which operates one of F1’s top teams.

F1 is currently owned by private equity investor CVC Partners. It issued a statement confirming News Corp had made an initial approach, but reiterated that the sport is not for sale.

“James Murdoch has informed us that the approach is friendly, at a very preliminary stage, and that they acknowledge that Formula 1 is privately owned by CVC and not currently for sale,” the company said. “CVC recognises the quality of Exor and News Corporation as potential investors, but any investment in Formula 1 will require CVC’s agreement and will need to demonstrate that it is in the interest of the sport and its stakeholders, taken as a whole.”