Stephen Ross, the 75-year-old co-founder of RSE Ventures and the owner of the NFL’s Dolphins, is looking to partner with Qatar to buy Formula One in a deal worth about $8 billion.
The investment would mean CVC Capital Partners, the private equity firm that currently owns the motor racing sport, would sell its 35.5% stake to RSE Ventures and Qatar Sports Investments, according to The Financial Times. At the moment, CVC has declined to comment on any discussions, and the FIA, the sport’s regulator, has yet to receive an application to approve the transaction.
It could be the push needed for F1 to break through into the U.S. market. The global sport, worth around $9 billion, only has one race in Texas on its calendar, and has perennially struggled to gain traction among American sports fans. Now, it could benefit from Ross’ helping hand. As chairman of global property group Related Companies, Ross helped to develop New York’s Time Warner Center. He is also in talks to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami together with English footballer David Beckham.
The interest from Qatar is also said to have heightened in the midst of the ongoing scandal at football governing body FIFA over the country’s winning bid for the 2022 World Cup. According to the FT, a majority stake in F1 would help fill the country’s portfolio in sports, an essential part of the country’s long-term ambitions. The Qatar group also owns French football club Paris St Germain.