Ecclestone shoots down Murdoch F1 takeover report

Bernie Ecclestone insisted Wednesday that Formula One is not for

sale, brushing off reports that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is

interested in taking over the sport.

Sky News reported that News Corp., which owns a 39 percent stake

in the broadcaster’s parent group, has begun talks with Mexican

telecom magnate Carlos Slim about forming a consortium to buy

control of F1 from private equity firm CVC Capital.

But the 80-year-old Ecclestone, who runs F1 on behalf of CVC,

reiterated his intention to stay in control for some time yet.

”It is all rubbish,” Ecclestone told British newspaper The

Times on Wednesday. ”Formula One is not for sale. And anyway, we

would not sell to a media company because it would restrict the

ability to negotiate with other broadcasters.”

The BBC has an agreement to broadcast the F1 world championship

in Britain until 2013.

Satellite broadcaster BSkyB, which runs Sky News and is subject

to a full takeover bid by News Corp., could choose to bid for the

broadcast rights rather than full control of the sport.

Unlike events such as the Wimbledon tennis tournament and

soccer’s World Cup, Formula One is not reserved for free-to-air

broadcast in Britain by government legislation.

Funds should not be a problem if News Corp. does pursue the

sport.

BSkyB paid $2.661 billion for Premier League broadcast rights

from 2010-13, while Slim topped this year’s Forbes’ list wealthiest

people with an estimated fortune of $121 billion.