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FOH sale hits the courts

BERNIE ECCLESTONE's sale of 50% of SLEC Holding - the parent company of Formula One Holdings - to the venture capital company Morgan Grenfell Private Equity Ltd. has run into unexpected problems. The $1.3bn deal - which was due to be completed on January 1 but has not yet been confirmed - is being challenged by Iraq-born property magnate Robert Tchenguiz, who is best known in Europe for his relationship with Wonderbra model Caprice Bourret but is worth millions of dollars thanks to his successful Rotch Property Group. In a writ which has been lodged with the High Court in London, Tchenguiz claims that Rotch had lined up a deal with Ecclestone to buy a 50% share of SLEC Holding for $1.25bn. Morgan Grenfell Private Equity was going to be one of the investors in the Rotch Consortium but later agreed to do its own deal with Ecclestone worth $1.3bn. The fact that Tchenguiz has made his move suggests that MGPE has been successful in raising the $975m it was looking for to complete the deal.

Tchenguiz is claiming damages, a slice of FOH revenue and the value of a stake in the company. The writ is understood to include a memorandum signed by MGPE's Scott Lanphere.

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