CVC sets Friday deadline for F1 IPO pitch - sources

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Tue, Apr 10, 2012 10:40 hrs
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany leads the pack at the start of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - CVC Capital Partners has set a Friday deadline for banks hoping to play a role in Formula One's Singapore IPO, sources told Reuters on Tuesday, in a sign that the process for the roughly $1.5 billion IPO is formally under way, with plans for a July listing.

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters last month that he had recommended Singapore as the best place to float the motor racing business, seeking to tap Asian enthusiasm for international sporting brands.

While a public listing of the world famous motor racing series has long been expected, with news of the Singapore venue breaking last month, the precise timing of the deal remained unclear. Sources with direct knowledge of the matter said a Friday deadline was set for banks to submit formal proposals to the company, CVC and its advisers.

Top investment banks will be pushing hard to play a role in underwriting the deal, not only for the fees involved but for the prestige of being part of such a high profile offering.

A final decision on the investment banking mandates will be made on or around April 24, one of the sources said, with the aim of listing in July.

CVC, which owns 63.4 percent of F1, is looking to list part of the business in Singapore, but would continue to hold shares of Formula One, according to a previous Reuters report.

An Asia-based listing would help the company tap the region's interest in international sporting brands.

Plans for a Formula One IPO were made more urgent by the expiry this year of a confidential commercial agreement between the rights holding company and the teams whose cars compete in the 20-race series.

Media reports put a $10 billion value on the business, with Goldman Sachs chosen as the main adviser on the deal. A minimum 15 percent float would make the deal worth $1.5 billion. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the IPO could seek a 20 percent float worth $2 billion.

Formula One has yet to formally apply to the Singapore Stock Exchange for its listing plans. CVC was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Daniel Stanton; Additional reporting by Victoria Howley in LONDON; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Jacqueline Wong)

More from Sify: