Well, here's some more food for thought, if anyone's in a thinking mood:
Bernie's about to get richer (maybe a new hair-do and some higher
platform shoes?), and Goodyear has added a further demonstration of the
ongoing brilliance of Tony George and Andrew Craig's inability to kiss
and make up.
Imagine, if you will, the ramifications of the Bernie story: first, it
says "selling up to half" of FOA -- does that mean Bernie retains the
controlling interest? I think so: MGPE/DB buys 12.5%, 21 Investimenti
buys 37.5%, leaves Bernie with 50%...but then MGPE/DB has (maybe) an
option on a further 37.5%, which would give them ....uhhh, fancy
cipherin' here... 50%, and if 21 Investimenti has 37.5%, that leaves
Bernard with 12.5%...but then he wants to float an IPO. Talk about
Byzantine...thank God I know even less about accounting than I do about
the FIA rulebook... However, if FOA becomes a publicly-traded entity,
with shareholders, and a board of directors, and maybe a better
corporate logo, that means they have to answer to those shareholders and
that board...could be a good thing, depending on who ends up with which
shares of the public FOA. Anybody want to bet it WON'T be Bernie? Taking
As for Goodyear's "a plague on both your houses," it's about time
*somebody* smacked those two numbskulls in the head with a big reality
check. Bridgestone/Firestone is already taking a bath in F1 and IRL --
how long are they likely to support the entire top tier of open-wheel
racing (no offense to you D.I.R.T. guys...) against no competition? Who
cares if your brand wins the Championship when you're the only brand
available? That's what got Goodyear out of F1 in the first place. Them
tahr's ain't cheap.
From Autosport, 10/26/1999:
<< Ecclestone set to accept $1.3bn offer
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is on the verge of selling up to half his
stake in Formula One Administration, the sport's controlling company -
in a deal worth $1.3bn (0.72bn)
According to reports in the Financial Times, Morgan Grenfell Private
Equity, which owns half of the Arrows team, is understood to have bought
a 12.5 per cent stake for $325m (about 179m).
The company, which is the specialist branch of Deutsche Bank, is
believed to have secured an option to buy a further 37.5 per cent stake,
worth $975m (537m).
Another company, 21 Investimenti - which is linked to the Benetton team
- is also understood to be near to securing a 37.5 per cent stake in FOA
- whose total value is believed to be $2.6bn (1.45m) - on which Morgan
Grenfell has an option.
The deal has been struck with Bambino Holdings, Ecclestone's family
trust which earlier this year benefited from a $1.4bn (0.77m) Eurobond
issue backed by F1's TV revenues.
It is believed Ecclestone hopes the bond issue and planned equity sale
will lead to a stock market flotation of FOA, within the next two years.
Goodyear quits championship
Goodyear has severed its links with CART, in a bid to concentrate its
other forms of racing.
The tyre giant announced today that it would not be returning to the
Champ Car series or the rival Indy Racing League.
According to a Goodyear spokesman, another reason for the withdrawal was
the ongoing split between CART and IRL.
Goodyear's general manager for global race tyres, Stu Grant, said, 'The
company has enjoyed a long and successful history in motorsports
competition around the world.
'Our longstanding commitment to racing has made this an agonising
'However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the
significant capital and resources the company devotes to CART and IRL.
'Our decision is based, in part, an open-wheel racing's present state of
affairs in North America and the ongoing split between CART and IRL.
'Like many suppliers we are certainly disappointed that no
reconciliation between the two groups is in sight and therefore believe
it is in the best interests of our shareholders, customers and the
racing division to take a sabbatical from the CART and IRL series.'
Goodyear, who withdrew from Formula One in 1998, will continue to supply
tyres to the NASCAR championships and other American series.
However, the company refused to rule out a return to CART, IRL or
Formula One in the future.
'We cannot rule out Goodyear's future participation in North American
open-wheel racing, particularly if CART and IRL reconcile, nor will we
rule out a return to F1 competition,' added Grant.>>
PS: Easter date for British GP
<< The British Grand Prix will take place on Easter Sunday next year,
release of the 2000 Formula One calendar.
The Silverstone race, which normally takes place on the second Sunday of
July, has been moved to its new slot on April 23 and will be the fourth
race of the 17-round season.>>