UBS and Goldman to lead Formula One IPO - sources

  • Other Sport
  • Monday, 16 Apr 2012

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has hired UBS and Goldman Sachs to lead an expected $2 billion initial public offering of motor racing business Formula One in Singapore, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

Goldman's role as joint global coordinator and bookrunner for the IPO, which is expected in July, was widely anticipated, given the bank's early work on the process.

For UBS, which will have the same responsibilities, top status on the deal is a major boost for its Southeast Asia operation.

Several big investment banks are competing for a role in the IPO - for the prestige of being part of such a high-profile deal and for the tens of millions of dollars in fees it will produce. Joint global coordinator is the top role in any IPO.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank were also invited to take part in a pitching process conducted in Singapore last week, sources said. Those banks did not immediately comment on the deal.

Like any major stock offering in its early stages, the final list of banks involved has yet to be determined. CVC, Goldman Sachs and UBS declined to comment.

UBS is an official global partner of Formula One as well as title sponsor of last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

CVC, which owns 63.4 percent of Formula One, is looking to list part of the business in Singapore but would continue to hold shares, according to a previous Reuters report.

An Asia-based listing would help the company tap the region's interest in international sporting brands.

English soccer champions Manchester United was also planning for a $1 billion flotation in Singapore late last year but volatile financial markets delayed it.

The plans for a Formula One IPO come at a time when the sport's 'Concorde Agreement,' - a confidential commercial agreement between the rights holding company, the governing International Automobile Federation and the teams whose cars compete in the 20-race series - is being renegotiated ahead of its expiry at the end of the year.

Formula One's commercial head Bernie Ecclestone said last month that a majority of the teams had committed already to continue racing in the sport beyond 2012.

Media reports have put a $10 billion value on the business, which one of the sources said was "within the ballpark."

Formula One will apply to the Singapore Stock Exchange for its listing plans soon, a process that could take six to eight weeks once set in motion, one of the sources told Reuters.

The sources declined to be named because the deal is not public.

(Additional reporting by Keith Weir in London; Editing by John O'Callaghan and Mark Potter)

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