F1 to float shares in Singapore
BLUE-LIGHT DISTRICT: The city-state of Singapore has an annual F1 night race - now a sale of F1 shares is wanted in the local stock exchange.
Author: Philip Lim
SINGAPORE, Malaysia - Formula 1 has been given the go-ahead for a $2.5-billion share sale in Singapore, a source close to the deal has said, but analysts said conditions may not be ideal after Facebook fell flat.
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, which has a majority stake in the glitzy motor sport's holding company, will gauge interest among investors and fund managers with a view to selling part of its stake at the end of June.
The source said the Singapore Exchange had approved a listing by F1, as has been rumoured over the previous two months.
A spokesman for the exchange, citing standard policy, said: "It is not our practice to publicly comment on our dealings with listing aspirants."
Singapore hosts a popular F1 night race, one of 20 stops on the F1 tour, and has a strong fan base for the sport. The 2012 Singapore GP is scheduled for September 23.
An F1 IPO would likely translate into a profit for CVC Capital Partners. It has owned 63.4% of F1's business since it bought a majority stake in the racing company for $2.5-billion in 2006 but this would be the biggest initial public offering so far in 2012 in Singapore, which also approved a float by Manchester United football club in September, 2011.
However the English Premier League club, which has a huge Asian following, is said to be seeking better market conditions.
Some companies are looking at Asia's cash-rich markets to raise funds as Europe grapples with a debt crisis and the US economy wobbles.
News of the F1 offering, which could raise as much as $3-billion, follows Friday's float of Facebook on Wall Street which valued the web giant at $104-billion but saw its shares plunge 25% off the initial price.