Liberty Media has given Formula 1 a net cash payment of $1.4 billion and made advanced payments for teams after reattributing its stake in Live Nation.
With Live Nation originally on the Formula One Group tracking stock, Liberty has moved this to the SiriusXM tracking stock in order to reduce the risk to investors as both F1 and Live Nation are so reliant on events that have been disrupted due to the Covid-19 virus. In doing so, a payment of $1.4b has gone to F1, with Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei saying the move strengthens both the sporting side of its investment but also concentrates similar assets together.
“The new Formula One Group now has a strengthened balance sheet that positions us to support and enhance the Formula 1 business while also being opportunistic during these challenging times,” Maffei said on a conference call with analysts.
“We believe the reattribution is also responsive to the request of many Formula One Group shareholders to create a more focused currency. For Liberty SiriusXM, this combines a complementary set of businesses that are established leaders in the live and audio entertainment space. Both the new Formula One Group and Liberty SiriusXM Group now have currencies with which to complete acquisitions, raise capital and engage in share repurchases, among other things.”
Maffei added that some — but not all — F1 teams have received advanced payments in order to help them deal with the current loss in revenue.
“We have advanced money in advance of team payments for certain teams already. There are cases where we may do more of that. There are other things that we might do to bridge teams that need help.
“We’re certainly not viewing this as an open checkbook. But we understand this is a little different than say Live Nation, which does do advances to artists; but the scale here is much larger in terms of what a team requires.
“(These are) teams which we want to make sure are solvent, because they are part of what we need to race successfully in 2020, 2021 and beyond.”