‘F1 not for sale,’ says Liberty CEO Greg Maffei

Rumoured bid from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund in January fuelled speculation.
  • F1 sale “not in our cards”, says Maffei
  • PIF rumoured to value F1 at US$20bn

Liberty Media chief executive Greg Maffei has said that Formula One is not for sale following a rumoured US$20 billion bid from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Water was already poured on reports by the Saudi Arabian sports minister, who called the rumours “purely speculation”, but Maffei has doubled down at the MoffettNathanson Inaugural Technology, Media and Telecom conference.

“Is there any chance we’re going to sell this thing and incur corporate tax? That should stop any discussion that anyone says that our friends, the Saudis, are going to buy it next week or something like that? If anybody knows us, they should know that’s just not in our cards,” said Maffei, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Liberty Media paid US$4.4 billion to purchase the global motorsport series in 2017, and Bloomberg has placed the current market value of Formula One at US$15.2 billion.

At the time of the rumoured bid, International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Mohammed Ben Sulayem was critical of the news, calling the reported value 'inflated'.

However, this led to the 61-year-old relinquishing day-to-day control of Formula One as the commercial matters of the series are not in his remit.

Saudi Arabia already hosts a Formula One race in Jeddah, while the state-owned oil giant Aramco is a global sponsor of the series and title sponsor of the Aston Martin Formula One team. Reports have also emerged that the country is preparing to stage a second Grand Prix at a site in Qiddiya.

Recent global deals signed with the likes of Paramount+ and Puma show that Formula One’s commercial appetite is not slowing down, and Maffei’s affirmation highlights that they still see further growth opportunities, especially in the US.


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