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F1 owner Liberty Media raises $500,000,000 for buying spree

Formula 1 owner Liberty Media is raising $500,000,000 which it plans to spend on acquiring a new addition to its portfolio of subsidiaries.

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F1 owner Liberty Media raises $500,000,000 for buying spree

A dedicated company, Liberty Media Acquisition Corporation, has been created for the purpose, and it will be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange from Friday.

The new entity is a "SPAC" – a special purpose acquisition or shell company, formed to generate funds via a public offering with which to buy another company.

The cash will be raised through the sale of 50,000,000 shares at an initial price of $10 each.

LMAC will be led by Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, and significantly Liberty's ownership interest in it "will be attributed to the Formula One Group tracking stock," creating a formal link between the two.

Liberty says that "LMAC intends to search for a target in the media, digital media, music, entertainment, communications, telecommunications and technology industries."

The move is significant in that Liberty is planning to spend big despite most of its companies taking a big hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

F1's 2020 income suffered from the loss of big-paying races, while business at Live Nation – the concert ticketing giant – has effectively ground to a halt.

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However, the Liberty appears to have adopted a bullish approach, and believes that now is a good time to buy companies whose current owners might be struggling.

As the pandemic took hold in April Maffei indicated that Liberty was looking for new acquisitions, and even hinted that there might be other opportunities within racing.

"I'm certainly not going to discuss acquisitions that are a particular target," he said. "But there are live events, in particular ones around motorsports, that could be attractive.

"There are ones around other kinds of sports that could be attractive and synergistic.

"I think a lot of other companies are not going to have the flexibility, either in the strength of their operating business, nor in the strength of the balance sheet that FWON now has.

"We'll be judicious and thoughtful. We think we have a great asset in F1, we certainly don't want to dilute that, but we'll be judicious and thoughtful about what will be attractive to add on, what would be synergistic, and what would take advantage of our strength."

Maffei noted at the time that some businesses could be struggling for a while.

"It took a long time for the challenges of the great recession to shake through, and you find opportunities with companies when they really get stressed down the road.

"I think that's likely to happen here as well, where there are still many reverberations to come.

"Not that I'm rooting for it, but there are likely to be opportunities ahead where companies need help, and we may be able to provide that help in a synergistic way, and in an attractive financial way. So we'll keep our eyes open for that."

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper
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