Report: Liberty, Discovery in Talks for Formula 1 Stake

Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) are in talks to acquire a minority stake in global racing circuit Formula One, according to a New York Post report on Monday.

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Media mogul John Malone is working to make a deal happen through Liberty Media and Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), hoping to buy as much as 49% of Formula One from private equity firm CVC Capital.

The report said talks between Liberty, Discovery and CVC Capital are in an early stage and could still fall apart.

A Discovery spokesperson declined to comment. Representatives of Liberty Media and CVC didn’t respond to inquiries from FOX Business.

A Formula One deal would put Malone’s cable entities in a position to better control rights fees for sports content. Liberty Media owns U.K. cable giant Virgin Media and holds a 27% stake in Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), which is in a fight to buy larger rival Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC).

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Liberty Media is also the owner of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and controls 29% of the voting power in Discovery.

Meanwhile, Discovery recently agreed to up its stake in international sports network Eurosport to 51% from 20%. Chief executive David Zaslav indicated that Discovery would look to bolster Eurosport with more rights to programming.

Formula One Group, which operates 19 races around the world each year, generates annual revenue of more than $1.5 billion. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix in France is said to be worth $7 billion to $8 billion alone, the Post reported.

Longtime Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, 83, resigned from the board last month. He is facing bribery charges in Germany.

Shares of Liberty Media fell 2% to $129.02 in recent trading. Discovery was down 1.6% at $78.50.

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