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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 14:17 GMT
Ecclestone to sell interest in F1
Formula One impresario Bernie Ecclestone
The sale ends months of speculation about F1's future
Motor racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone and German bank BayernLB have sold their controlling stake in the Formula One Group for an undisclosed sum.

The deal gives control of 75% of the company to private equity group CVC Capital Partners.

But Mr Ecclestone will hold onto the chief executive post at Formula One Group as well as retaining an unspecified stake in the business.

The deal brings an end to months of infighting for the control of F1.

Last year the three banks began legal action to have a greater say in the running of the sport.

(CVC) are knowledgeable about motor sport and make an ideal partner for Formula One
Bernie Ecclestone

JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and BayernLB alleged they had been unfairly deprived of the right to appoint directors to reflect their shareholding in SLEC, the formula one holding company which they inherited after the collapse of major shareholder German media group Kirch.

They claimed that despite owning 75% of the company they were still classed as minority shareholders.

The matter was settled out of court in March.

Troubled times

However, the sport is still facing an uncertain future, with carmakers threatening to break away and set up a rival championship in 2008 unless significant changes are made to the way the sport is run.

Meanwhile, the Grand Prix Manufacturing Association wants a bigger slice of F1's commercial earnings and more transparency.

Mr Ecclestone, 75, has made a fortune from exploiting the rights to the sport.

"We are delighted to have CVC as a shareholder whose long-term strategies and vision will provide the stability for teams, promoters and manufacturers," Mr Ecclestone said in a joint statement with CVC.

"They are knowledgeable about motor sport and make an ideal partner for Formula One."

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