Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, and the Qatari fund that owns Paris Saint-Germain soccer club, are in talks to acquire CVC Capital Partners’ 35.5 percent stake in Formula One auto racing, according to people familiar with the matter.
Ross’s RSE Ventures and Qatar Sports Investments have teamed up with German businessman Dieter Hahn, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. The discussions are in early stage and there’s no guarantee an agreement will be reached, they said.
Other bidders may also be interested, one of the people said. RSE and Qatar are prepared to pay as much as $8 billion for CVC’s 35.5 percent stake, the Financial Times reported earlier today.
Ross, the founder of Related Cos. LP, bought half of the National Football League’s Dolphins in 2008, and boosted his ownership to 95 percent the following year. Qatar has increased its involvement in sports while preparing to host soccer’s 2022 World Cup.
Formula One Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone said he would sell his remaining 5 percent stake in the series under the plan, although he would remain in his position if a takeover went ahead, the FT reported. Ecclestone, 84, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment today. A CVC spokesman declined to comment, as did a representative for Hahn. Qatar Sports Investments didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment, and calls to its office went unanswered.
CVC bought 63 percent of Formula One in 2005 and 2006 in a leveraged buyout using $2.5 billion of loans. In 2012, after abandoning plans for an initial public offering, it sold a $2.1 billion stake to Waddell & Reed Financial Inc., BlackRock Inc. and Norges Bank Investment Management in deals valuing the auto-racing company at $9.1 billion.