Liberty Media chairman John C Malone is known as Darth Vader for his uncompromising attitude. File photo: Rick Wilking / Reuters

London - An American media giant is closing in on a deal to take over Formula One after months of speculation about the sport’s future.

Liberty Media is in advanced talks with CVC Partners, which owns a 35 percent stake in the business. The £6.5 billion (R123 billion) deal would see Liberty acquire the whole company.

Chase Carey, executive vice-chairman of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire 21st Century Fox, is thought to be lined up as chief executive.

Formula One will hold 21 Grands Prix worldwide in 2016, from Monaco to China, and attracts a global audience and support from the super-rich. But its success over the past 66 years masks concerns about the future of the sport.

CVC bought into the business a decade ago and has been criticised for extracting multi-billion-pound profits since, starving it of cash.

Commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has faced criticism for courting oppressive regimes in a bid to open new circuits. Earlier in 2016 drivers issued a joint letter calling the decision-making ‘obsolete and ill-structured’.

Sources said the deal with Liberty had not concluded and other groups were also in talks. Liberty is controlled by businessman John Malone, a publicity-shy billionaire nicknamed Darth Vader for his uncompromising attitude.

Daily Mail

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