Carey to be unveiled as new F1 chairman ahead of Liberty takeover – reports

Media industry veteran Chase Carey is set to be named as the new chairman of Formula One this week ahead of a takeover of the motor-racing world championship by Liberty Media, according to reports.

UK pay-television broadcaster Sky, a rights-holder of the series, said that Carey (pictured), the former president and chief operating officer of media company 21st Century Fox, will be appointed early this week, replacing Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who will remain on the board as a non-executive director after serving at the helm for the past two years.

Sky said that the appointment would “come just hours” before venture capitalist CVC Capital Partners confirms the sale of its controlling stake in F1 to John Malone-owned Liberty Media. The deal will reportedly value the championship at more than $8bn (€7.2bn). CVC has been the biggest individual shareholder in F1 since 2005 through Delta Topco, F1’s parent company.

However, the Financial Times newspaper said that Liberty’s takeover was “not a done deal” although the deal could be announced within two weeks. The newspaper added that Liberty had become the frontrunner after seeing off interest from private equity group Silver Lake and US management company WME-IMG.

Under the proposed deal, Liberty would acquire a stake of between 10 and 15 per cent, with an agreement to take full control of the business in the future. F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, which has a stake of about five per cent in the series, said at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend that Liberty “are getting a lot of publicity” out of their deals.

Malone came close to acquiring a 49-per-cent stake in the championship two years ago through a joint offer between Liberty and media and entertainment company Discovery Communications, but the deal fell through. Sky said that Liberty and Discovery had been working together on the fresh bid.

The deal would require the approval of antitrust regulators in Europe and also the FIA, the global governing body of motorsport.