Three investment groups have bought a 21 percent stake in Formula One from private equity firm CVC Capital for $1.6 billion ahead of the motor racing company’s planned flotation in Singapore. The deal sets a benchmark valuation of at least $7.6 billion for the company as financial advisers begin to target cornerstone and retail investors during the pre-marketing process of the IPO. The shares are expected to debut in June.
The three investors are U.S. groups Waddell & Reed and BlackRock, along with Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management, the asset management unit of the Norwegian central bank, CVC said in a statement on Tuesday, confirming earlier reports.
Waddell & Reed said it had invested $1.1 billion through its Asset Strategy mutual funds and separate accounts. Norges Bank is believed to have contributed around $300 million and BlackRock the remaining $200 million in deals struck since the start of the year.
CVC has had a 63.4 percent stake in Formula One since 2006 and has indicated it planned to cut that stake in the motor racing business, a glamour sport that attracts global television audiences of 500 million for its fortnightly races.
Formula One, which owns the commercial rights to the sport for the next 98 years, earns money from fees paid by circuits to host races, TV income, sponsorship and corporate hospitality. Its revenues are estimated to reach $2 billion for the first time in 2012, according to industry monitor Formula Money
Formula One won clearance on Monday for a flotation in Singapore which is expected to be completed next month.
“This is great news for Formula One and an important step in its development,” said Donald Mackenzie, a CVC managing partner.
“We look forward to working with our new partners over the coming years.” he added. CVC said it would continue to be Formula One’s largest and controlling shareholder.