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Ecclestone reports no contact from News Corp

Rupert Murdoch's interest in taking control of F1 appears to have cooled in the wake of the 'phone-hacking scandal engulfing his News Corp empire.
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that News Corporation's much-hyped potential involvement in F1 appears to have been put on the back-burner in recent weeks, having heard nothing from Rupert Murdoch's disgraced company.

As recently as a couple of months ago, the Australian media mogul was being touted as the sport's next owner, but the torrent of accusations that came with the 'phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper appears to have also taken its toll on the bid to replace CVC Capital Partners.

Despite much-publicised tie-ups with the likes of Ferrari-linked Exor and other potential backers amid 'a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of F1' and the announcement that the Murdoch-owned Sky Sports would share future television coverage with the BBC, Ecclestone confirmed that there had been no further interest in taking ownership of the top flight.

“News Corp has not made a return visit,” he told LondonlovesBusiness, “I have no doubt in my mind that, if somebody came along with a respectable, sensible offer, [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.”

Murdoch this week agreed to make a personal £1m payment to charities chosen by the family of murder victim Milly Dowler after it emerged that the teenager's 'phone had been among those hacked by NotW journalists. News Corp is in the process of finalising a multi-million compensation payment to the family.

With speculation that the competing teams may launch their own bid to gain a bigger say in the running of the sport [see story here], Ecclestone admits that he is unlikely to ever regain total control of the category that he helped turn into a multi-million dollar business.

“It isn't likely that I would buy F1 back and I can't imagine taking back majority control,” he conceded, “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.”



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Caroline - Unregistered

September 24, 2011 10:38 AM

There was never a real bid proposal ... Every other day News Corp would announce another partner, and quietly drop the previous weeks associate. However, Murdoch through Sky is slowly beginning to hide F1 away behind a pay wall ... Shame that.

Caroline - Unregistered

September 25, 2011 10:24 AM

@blzbub Sky may be in about 10 million households, but about 74% of those households do not subscribe to any premium channels, they watch the Free To Air Channels ... All the Sky Sports channels combined only make up 3% of those Sky households. Incidentally the BBC pay Sky GBP11 million a year just to be listed on Sky's EPG ... Shocking waste of money.



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