F1 appoints chairman but IPO may still be delayed

© Ubaid Parkar, 29 May 2012
Donald Mackenzie (L), Peter Brabeck-Lethmathe and Bernie Ecclestone in Monaco © Sutton Images/Corbis/AP Images

Formula 1 has appointed Peter Brabeck as its chairman after a board meeting on Friday in a decision expected to indicate that a replacement for Bernie Ecclestone is in place, providing management continuity for the future of the sport.

F1 is planning to launch an initial public offering and is tightening up its weak links before the floatation takes place, which included a need for a successor for the 81-year-old.

"He has a fantastic motivation. He has very good health," Brabeck told Reuters playing down the implications of his appointment. "As Bernie has said, you can't replace Frank Sinatra but you can find another singer. One day we are going to find another singer and he or she will be different. The show will go on.”

The IPO was further strengthened after a pre-marketing transaction was revealed earlier in May although it could still be delayed due to volatile market forces which has undermined the Facebook IPO.

"I think we made a step forwards but no decision has been taken," Brabeck said

The owners of F1, CVC Capital Partners, off-loaded 21 percent of its stake to three investors but despite the boost, the floatation is not guaranteed.

"If anything it has reduced the pressure or the need for an IPO or a next step and that's why the board looked at the IPO today as one option," CVC managing partner Donald Mackenzie explained. "It's certainly something we are going to look at over the next three to six months but there is no set timetable."

One of the other issues that has been dogging the IPO is the signing of the Concorde Agreement, that governs the distribution of revenues among teams, which Mercedes is disputing although Ecclestone remains unperplexed.

"I don't see any problem. I'm a realist," Ecclestone said referring to the disagreement with the German manufacturer.

Ecclestone also hopes that the sport's television coverage would provide an added benefit to the valuation of F1.

"When the world is bad, people want to escape," he said. "I'm very proud of the job we do for TV, it's something good to watch."

 

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