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Tuesday, October 26, 1999 Published at 06:39 GMT

Business: The Company File

Ecclestone to sell Formula One stake

Motor racing promoter Bernie Ecclestone plans to sell up to half of his stake in Formula One Administration (FOA) , the company that controls the sport, a report in the Financial Times said.

The deal is valued at ($1.3bn) £781m, it said.

Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, the specialist arm of Deutsche Bank, is understood to have bought a 12.5% stake for $325m. It is also believed to have secured an option to buy a further 37.5% stake.

Morgan Grenfell already owns 50% of Arrows, the British Formula One ( F1) team.

Other venture capitalists, including one linked to the Benetton F1 team, are reported to be interested in buying part of the 37.5% stake Morgan Grenfell has an option on.

Intention to float

Mr Ecclestone is thought to want to float the company within the next two years.

The deal follows earlier efforts by Mr Ecclestone to float FOA amid investigations by the European Commission (EC) into its television contracts.

Earlier this year, the EC found that the deals which have given Ecclestone exclusive television rights to the sport since 1997 might have violated EU laws.

If its initial findings are confirmed, the sport's television contracts would have to be renegotiated.

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