Formula 1 Revving Up For $3b Singapore IPO

By webadmin on 09:13 pm Apr 25, 2012
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Joyce Koh & Zijing Wu

CVC Capital Partners added Morgan Stanley and UBS AG to help with the initial public offering of Formula One, which could raise as much as $3 billion in Singapore, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The two banks join Goldman Sachs Group, hired earlier for the stock sale, as lead managers for the IPO, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process is private.

DBS Group Holdings, CIMB Group Holdings and Banco Santander SA have also been retained to help manage the IPO, the people said.

Formula One’s IPO may occur as early as June, said one of the people. An application for the IPO may be submitted as early as this week, the person said.

At $3 billion, the IPO would be the biggest in the world since Spain’s Bankia SA raised $4.4 billion in July.

Drawing on Formula One’s growing popularity in Asia, a Singapore listing may also help the cachet of the city’s stock exchange, which is vying with Hong Kong’s bourse to attract companies from across the world.

Formula One’s chief executive officer, Bernie Ecclestone, has no plans to sell his 5.3 percent stake in the offering and will keep his position under CVC’s plans, he said last month.

F1 Group, the sport’s commercial rights holder, may post $657 million of pretax profit on sales of $2.3 billion next year, according to London-based industry monitor Formula Money. It had $1.6 billion of revenue in 2010.

Singapore last year gave the British football team Manchester United permission to do an IPO of about $1 billion. That sale, scuttled amid stock market volatility in late 2011, may be revived, people familiar with the deal said in March.

By listing in Singapore, where a Formula One race has been held since 2008, the auto-racing series would take advantage of its growing popularity in Asia. Formula One also holds Grand Prix races in China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, India and Australia.

The Bahrain Grand Prix, held on Sunday amid protests calling for the race to be canceled, saw two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel win to move atop the drivers’ standings.

Bahrain’s mostly Shiite political opposition had stepped up its antiregime protests in the run-up to the race, with the Formula One chiefs resisting the calls.