F1 IPO only when time is right - Ecclestone


LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One is getting everything in place for a flotation this year but it will only happen when the time is right, the sport's commercial head, Bernie Ecclestone, told Reuters on Thursday, signalling that a listing in June was now unlikely.

"We're going through all the normal motions which go before...the analysts and the banks and all these people," said the 81-year-old billionaire.

"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 major IPOs being called off in Asia this week, Ecclestone said it would be a case of "waiting until we think it's the right time."

Formula One is planning to float in Singapore, with premarketing for the $3 billion (1.95 billion pounds) IPO already under way. The company had been expected to issue a prospectus next week prior to going on the market later in June.

Ecclestone said it would be wrong to talk of any delay because 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," said the Briton.

English soccer club Manchester United put plans to float in Singapore on hold last year because of market turmoil.

INVESTMENT DEAL

Formula One management has been stressing that it was keeping its options open on its future financial structure. Chairman Peter Brabeck told Reuters last week no decision had been made whether to proceed with the IPO.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners unveiled a $1.6 billion deal earlier in May to sell a 21 percent stake in the business to U.S. investments groups Waddell & Reed and BlackRock, along with Norway's Norges Bank Investment Management.

The sale cut CVC's stake to around 42 percent and CVC Managing Partner Donald Mackenzie told Reuters last week that the agreement eased the pressure to do an IPO. CVC has been the main owner of Formula One since 2006.

A slump in Asian equities in the past week has weighed on investors' demand for new listings in the region while Europe's debt troubles and slower growth in China have added to investors caution.

The fallout of Facebook's IPO debacle earlier this month is also weighing on markets.

Formula One gets about a third of its revenue from race promotion fees, with countries like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi paying up to $40 million a year for the rights to host grand prix.

Another one-third of revenue comes from broadcasting rights, with the remainder coming from advertising sales and non-core businesses including transportation of race teams and hospitality at race tracks.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS have been hired to lead the IPO.

(Additonal reporting by Keith Weir; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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