Liberty Media could take a minority stake in the company that controls Formula One motor racing. The John Malone company is seen as a leading contender for the sport following talks with controlling shareholder CVC Capital Partners.
Under the plans, first reported by Sky News on Thursday, Chase Carey, the former DirecTV and News Corporation executive, would become the organisation’s chairman, replacing Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the Nestle chairman.
But Liberty Media is not the only pay-TV company in the frame. Sky, which already runs a dedicated Formula One channel, could enter the bidding. Liberty Media subsidiary Liberty Global, whose operations include Virgin Media and Ziggo, is also in the frame.
By taking a minority stake, Liberty would not be party to any regulatory issues, but a full takeover would not only attract the interests of regulators, but also motorsport governing body the FIA.
Formula 1 is an attractive proposition for pay-TV operators, given the interest from potentially high spending customers. It is a sport that in the UK market at least free-to-air channels have in recent years found difficult to justify as audiences have failed to match the cost.