Chinese Investors Looking At F1 Takeover

According to reports late last week, a group known as China Media Capital is leading a group of Chinese firms to back a US$8.5 billion takeover bid for the global motor racing circus that is Formula One.

The group of Chinese media investors are said to be ready to invest in the region of $1.5 billion dollars into an offer apparently being assembled by Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins NFL team.

Asian investors have been eagerly accumulating sporting assets in recent years. Singaporean Peter Lim owns Spanish La Liga outfit Valencia as well as holding a large share of McLaren Automotive. China’s Wanda group has a stake in Spanish club Atletico de Madrid and also acquired Infront Sports & Media, a leading sports marketing company. Indonesian Erick Thohir owns Inter Milan, and their neighbours AC Milan are in final discussions with a Thai based investor to acquire a substantial stake in the club.

Formula One has a large and growing following across Asia and with five Grand Prix hosted in the APAC region, a new Asian consortium would surely seek to maximise the television and advertising revenues.

However the buyout suggestion from the consortium which involves CMC, comes at a demanding time for F1, with a number of teams facing financial difficulties, and lingering concerns about the quality of the sporting spectacle with some races become a Mercedes procession.

There is also the simmering long held grievances from smaller teams, in one case Force India and Sauber, who have taken their compliant to the European Commission about the way the substantial prize money is, in their view, unfairly distributed.

Chinese tycoons have actively been honing in on the entertainment and sports sectors seeing them as strong and long-term revenue generators and products that can be packaged and sold to their own domestic consumers. This comes as a report last week claimed the Chinese middle class is now the largest in the world.


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