EC would block Murdoch takeover - Ecclestone

By on Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday said the European Commission would stand in the way of a sale of F1's commercial rights to media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The F1 chief executive was already lukewarm amid the reports of News Corporation's interest in buying F1 from CVC, and he told the Sunday Independent that he has an agreement to keep the sport on free-to-air television.

Murdoch owns the well-known pay-TV channels BSkyB and Sky Italia, and the subscriber-only Times and News of the World websites.

"I'm sure the European Commission wouldn't let it (the sale of F1 to Murdoch) go through because our agreement with them was to keep F1 on free-to-air television," said Ecclestone.

The 80-year-old Briton also suggested the "FIA or the teams" would be reluctant to support the takeover.

The newspaper also asked Ecclestone about rumours the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala has expressed interest in buying F1.

"CVC hasn't bothered to reply to them," he answered, adding that he would have no problem seeing F1 sold to another private equity firm like CVC.

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