F1 owners to cash in with new refinancing plan

LONDON Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:36am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Shareholders in Formula One including private equity fund CVC are set to share a $1 billion dividend thanks to a refinancing of the high-profile motor sport business.

Sources close to the deal confirmed a Sky News report on Thursday that Formula One's parent company was increasing its borrowings to $3.8 billion from $2.8 billion to fund the payout.

The deal is being arranged by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

CVC is the largest shareholder in Formula One with a stake of around 35 percent after investing in the sport eight years ago.

The new structure will not include any change of control clauses, meaning it will not present an obstacle should CVC decide to sell its stake.

There have been reports that John Malone's Liberty Global and Discovery Communications were in talks over buying a combined 49 percent stake held by CVC and Lehman Brothers.

The situation is complicated by uncertainty over the future of Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone, 83, who is on trial for bribery in Germany. That case is scheduled to run at least until the middle of October.

(Reporting by Keith Weir and Freya Berry, editing by Mark Heinrich)

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