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Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 13:35 GMT
Car makers may bid for F1
Finnish Formula One driver Mika Hakinen
DaimlerChrysler could soon be part owner of F1
DaimlerChrysler wants to make a joint bid with other car makers for a stake in Formula One to scupper the takeover by German media group Kirch.

At a meeting this Friday with Bernie Ecclestone, DaimlerChrysler, together with other manufacturers, will offer to buy a third of the SLEC holding company which owns the all important broadcast rights to F1.

DaimlerChrysler board member Juergen Hubbert said at the Geneva Motor Show the car makers want "to have nothing to do" with the German media company which is planning to takeover F1 through its partner EM.TV.

"If Kirch has 75% then that is the end of Formula 1," said Mr Hubbert.

Juergen Hubbert, member of Mercedes Benz management board
Hubbert: "If Kirch has 75%... that's the end of Formula One"
Other companies interested in F1 are thought to include Fiat and Ford.

There have been reports that the Ecclestone family trust objects to Kirch's involvement in televising the motor sport.

EM.TV, which has a 50% stake in SLEC, has been in financial difficulties after an aggressive acquisition programme left it with huge debts.

Under a deal agreed earlier in February, Kirch will pay $550m for a 49% stake in EM.TV's share of the SLEC and finance EM.TV to buy another 25% for $1bn.

Promoter Bernie Ecclestone, who owns the other 50% of SLEC, has an option to sell another 25% stake for nearly $1bn to EM.TV by the end of May this year.

Access to F1 racing is said to be a key factor driving Kirch's motivation to buy EM.TV.

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16 Feb 01 | Business
EM.TV rescue deal wobbles
06 Feb 01 | Business
Ecclestone may lose F1 rights
04 Dec 00 | Business
Joint F1 owner struggles
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