Volatile markets delay Formula 1 IPO
(Financial Times) — Formula One appears to be the latest company hit by the gloom surrounding the market for initial public offerings after chief executive Bernie Ecclestone signalled that the motor racing series would delay its listing plans.
Mr Ecclestone said the IPO may not take place until later this year, blaming a volatile equity market.
“There’s no rush, the markets aren’t good at the moment; it doesn’t inspire people,” he told Bloomberg. “We don’t have to do it now.” The news comes on the back of Graff Diamonds’ announcement on Thursday that the London-based jeweller was postponing an IPO in Hong Kong, blaming adverse market conditions.
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Formula One has been preparing for an IPO of up to $3bn in Singapore next month, in an unusual “stapled” deal that will see its shares sold together with debt. Its pre-marketing for the listing is already under way.
The company had been expected to issue a 500-page prospectus next week before floating in Singapore in June.
“We’re going through all the normal motions which go before … the analysts and the banks and all these people,” the 81-year-old billionaire told Reuters.
He added: “We are getting prepared so all these things are done and then whenever we want to go, we can go.”
Asked whether that could mean a delay of several months, given the volatile nature of markets and four big IPOs being called off in Asia this week, Mr Ecclestone said that it would be a case of “waiting until we think it’s the right time”.
He noted that no firm date had been set for an IPO. “It’s going to be this year; we said we would do it this year. It’s not intended to be delayed,” he added.
Mr Ecclestone told Bloomberg he was busy handling business, such as talks with the promoters for a proposed 2013 race in New Jersey, and could not devote as much time as is necessary to the IPO.
The 20-race season runs until the end of November. Mr Ecclestone had said last week that the IPO could take place within a month.
The private equity group CVC Capital Partners, which has been the main owner of Formula One since 2006, revealed a $1.6bn deal in May to sell a 21 per cent stake in the business to US investments groups Waddell Reed and BlackRock, along with Norway’s Norges Bank Investment Management.
© The Financial Times Limited 2012