CVC Capital Partners hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) to explore a possible sale of a stake in Formula One in an initial public offering, said a person with knowledge of the matter.
Any deal to sell part of CVC’s holding may value the auto- racing series at more than $10 billion and Singapore is a possible listing venue, the person said, declining to be identified as the deliberations are private.Formula One’s Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone said in November the company should seek a listing in Singapore because of Asia’s growing interest in the sport, the Sunday Telegraph reported at the time. Ecclestone said CVC, the U.K. private equity firm, would be better off exiting the business via an IPO in Singapore rather than selling it, according to the Telegraph.
Formula One, which added India to its racing circuit last year, is counting on growth in Asia and the Middle East as events in Europe have been cut back. Grand Prix races are also held in China, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Singapore. France was dropped from the schedule because it couldn’t meet costs and Italy and Germany lost one of their two annual races.
Sky News reported yesterday that CVC hired Goldman Sachs to study a placement of part of its stake in Formula One. Spokespeople for CVC and Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the possible IPO.
CVC bought majority control of Formula One in March 2006, according to the private equity firm’s website. F-1 has annual sales of 1.17 billion euros ($1.55 billion) and employs 200 people, the website shows.
The buyout firm and teams are negotiating terms of a new commercial agreement, as the existing accord expires after this year. The 2012 season began two days ago with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, and a further 19 races are scheduled.
Singapore began staging a Formula One race in 2008. The government supported the Formula One bid as part of a goal to boost tourism, saying in 2007 that it would fund about 60 percent of the event’s cost. The race contract ends this year and Singapore hired consultants to assess its impact on the city-state’s economy, the Straits Times reported in September.
Singapore’s exchange is vying with Hong Kong for international brand-name listings as Europe’s credit crisis deters companies from going public there. Hong Kong hosted IPOs by Prada SpA and Samsonite International SA last year.
Manchester United Ltd. (MNU), the record 19-time English soccer champion, is revisiting plans for an initial public offering in Singapore as stock markets recover, five people with knowledge of the matter said this month.