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Mon 5 Sep 2016 09:52 AM

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Qatar fund ‘backs away’ from Formula One bid

US firm Liberty Media in pole position for F1 stake; QSI reported to have withdrawn interest “weeks ago”

Qatar fund ‘backs away’ from Formula One bid
(Getty Images)

Qatar Sports Investments is no longer interested in bidding for Formula One as the race to take control of the global racing car showcase goes down to the wire.

The Financial Times reported that media investment group Liberty Media is in “advanced talks” with CVC Partners, the private equity group that controls F1’s parent company, to take a 10-15 percent stake in the latter for up to $2.7 billion.

The newspaper quoted unnamed sources familiar with the talks as saying that the two parties had an agreement that Liberty would take full control of F1 at a later stage.

If completed, the deal would mark the end of a long-running saga about the future ownership of F1.

Qatar Sports Investments, the state-owned fund that has a majority stake in French football champions Paris St-Germain, was believed to be interested in bidding, but the Financial Times reported quoted a person close to the fund as saying that it had “backed away weeks ago”.

Other interested partners include private equity firm Silver Lake and US company WME-IMG.

There has been speculation that the Qatari move had been linked to the Gulf state’s desire to host an F1 race in Doha.

Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are already stops on the F1 calendar, and in February last year the head of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation was quoted as saying that a deal to host a race in Doha had almost been completed.

However, F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone dampened those hopes when he said in April 2015 that F1 was not looking to add another race in the region.

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