Bernie Ecclestone has stated that Formula 1 could be sold to a new owner before the end of 2016.
The 84-year-old, who is the chief executive of the sport’s management company, Formula One Group, hinted that one of the sport’s shareholders could be on the verge of selling off their stake.
Formula One’s parent company, Delta Topco, is owned by several shareholders, with CVC Capital Partners, Waddell & Reed and the estate of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers as the main protagonists.
There was speculation in the summer that equity firm CVC might offload its shareholding, although at the time these were dismissed by company chairman Donald Mackenzie.
Speaking to the Camp Beckenbauer sports business forum via telephone on Wednesday, Ecclestone said three interested parties were considering bids.
“The shareholders at the moment are in a position where they have to lose some or all of their shares shortly. That’s the way things are set up for them,” he said.
“There has been a lot of interest and I would say there are three parties at the moment. I would be surprised if one of them doesn’t buy very shortly.”
Asked to clarify when he expected a takeover to occur, Ecclestone said: “This year”.
Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: