News Corp, run by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, announced in May that it was aiming to establish a consortium “with a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of Formula One” with the backing of Italian investment firm Exor, which is run by the Agnelli family – the owners of Ferrari through car manufacturer Fiat. Speculation of a possible buy-out was fuelled by the news that Sky Sports, which is owned by News Corp, had struck a deal to share broadcast rights to F1 from next season alongside the BBC.
However, Ecclestone, who sold a controlling stake in F1 to CVC Capital Ventures in 2005: “News Corp has not made a return visit.” According to The Daily Telegraph, he added to LondonlovesBusiness: “I have no doubt in my mind that if somebody came along with a respectable, sensible offer they (CVC) would probably say, ‘let’s have a chat’. I think one or two people have come along with an offer they probably thought was sensible but CVC didn’t.”
Ecclestone remains a minority shareholder in F1, but the 80-year-old rejected suggestions that he could bid to win back ownership of the sport. “It isn’t likely that I would buy F1 back and I can’t imagine taking back majority control,” he said. “CVC would want what it is worth and I wouldn’t want to pay what it is worth. Not that it is not worth it but it would be a lot of money. It’s a big thing to hang around your neck at my age.”