JANUARY 23, 2001
Much maneuvering around EM.TV
There is also talk of San Francisco investment house Hellman & Friedman becoming involved again. The company owned 37.5% of the business at the start of last year before selling it to EM.TV. Either the Americans believe that the company has solid potential in the long-term or they have plans for a quick sale of parts of the company.
Nothing is going to happen without Bernie Ecclestone having his say because the F1 boss holds a $1bn option to sell another 25% of the Formula One group to EM.TV. If Ecclestone insists on exercising that option EM.TV could go out of business and it also means that any buyer will have to be willing to invest an extra $1bn unless Ecclestone agrees to waive the option. He may do that but with a billion at stake Bernie is more likely to come up with a deal which suits him.
All the excitement has led to EM.TV's share price rising to 8.45 Euros ($7.20) but this seems to be speculative buying rather than the sign that there is a concrete deal in the making.
There is one thing of which we can be certain. Ecclestone is going to squeeze every dollar he possibly can out of the deal - as usual.