Liberty Media react to Saudi Arabia buyout 

Rumours have been swirling that Formula 1’s owners could be looking to capitalise on the sport’s success with a sale to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has ruled out selling Formula 1 to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, silencing rumours of a $20 billion deal.

Formula 1 has been thriving in recent years, as its popularity in America has seen the sport’s commercial success grow exponentially.

Saudi Arabia is already on the Formula 1 calendar, with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix around the Jeddah Cornich Circuit featuring on the calendar since 2021.

The country is looking to grow its role in the industry through a second race, planned for the city of Qiddya.

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Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil and gas company Aramco is also a key sponsor of the sport, having signed on in 2020.

Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia was “open to raising” $20 billion to purchase the rights to the sport, with an offer reportedly made in 2022.

FIA President Mohammad Ben Sulayem previously fuelled speculation of a sale when he warned potential buyers to be “cautious of inflated price tags of $20 billion being put on F1.”

“Any potential buyer is advised to apply common sense, consider the greater good of the sport and come with a clear, sustainable plan – not just a lot of money,” he explained.

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Speaking at the MoffettNathanson Technology, Media and Telecom conference, Maffei seemed to rule out any potential sale.

“Is there any chance we’re going to sell this thing and incur corporate tax? That should stop any discussion that anyone says that our friends, the Saudis, are going to buy it next week or something like that?” Maffei said.

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“If anybody knows us, they should know that’s just not in our cards.

“We are very enthused about where F1 is now but [also] where it’s going as well. You look at the big revenue streams there, all have good direction.

“In broadcasting, we have increased fans and we have increased distributors who want to push the product, including new digital distributors and the like. We have promoters who are our partners.”