Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that he would be interested in buying back Formula 1 if the sport's majority shareholder CVC elected to sell.
Ecclestone has always retained a stake in the sport despite selling a number of his shares over the years and remains in the position of chief executive even though he remains a minority shareholder.
Rumours have been ongoing for some time that CVC was considering selling control of the sport to News Corp and Exor, although Ecclestone said he himself would love to regain control if the price was right.
“Yes, absolutely,” he told the International Herald Tribune
when asked if he would be interested in buying F1 back. “I wouldn't buy at the price that I think CVC would sell it. But I would certainly buy at the price that they [News Corp. and Exor] want to pay. And the Ferrari people, the multiples that they thought they would like to pay for the company — I told them that I would buy Ferrari at those multiples.”
Ecclestone again denied that talks have taken place between CVC and News Corp about a deal and said he found the approach of the company headed by Rupert Murdoch as 'strange'.
“There's been people talking all the time,” he said. “But the bottom line is that CVC own the shares of the company — we own a few shares, the family trust owns a few shares, I own a few shares — but basically CVC own the company and they don't want to sell. Having said that, the type of company they are — a private equity firm — if the price was right they would sell. If the price was right. So it is just a case — if somebody wants to buy it's a pity they don't come along and sit down with the people that own the shares and say, 'We are interested in buying the company, is it for sale? And if so, more or less how much do you want?' That conversation hasn't ever taken place.
“I mean, if I wanted to buy something, I'd want to know who owned it, then find if they want to sell, and then try and find out how much it is worth and see if I think it is worth buying. It seems a very strange way to go on the way these people have been going on.”