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US firm Liberty Media acquires Formula One for $4.4bn

Liberty Media hopes to complete a deal to acquire F1 by next year. Credit: PA

Formula One faces its biggest shake-up in decades after the announcement that US firm Liberty Media has agreed a deal to acquire the sport in a deal worth 4.4bn US dollars (£3.3bn).

The American entertainment and media giant is buying 100 per cent of the shares of F1's parent company Delta Topco from the British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, 85, will remain as chief executive but 21st Century Fox vice-chairman Chase Carey will become the new chairman.

Ecclestone has run the sport for nearly 40 years after securing the commercial rights in the late 1970s.

Bernie Ecclestone has run F1 for 40 years. Credit: PA

Ecclestone told Autosport: "It has been decided I am to stay on as Formula 1 chief executive.

"I will continue to do all the things I have previously done, such as negotiate with the circuits, television companies and people like that.

"The good news is we will have someone on board in Chase [Carey], and he will hopefully be able to push F1 into new territories with social media.

"As you know I've never found a way to make money from social media."

Liberty Media, which is owned by American media mogul John Malone, and its sister companies have interests that span from baseball's Atlanta Braves to Virgin Media, and Malone owns shares in ITV, Eurosport and Formula E.

Bernie Ecclestone introduced the Singapore Grand Prix to the calendar in 2008 - the sport's first ever night race. Credit: PA

It will initially acquire an 18.7% minority stake before completing a full takeover if the deal is approved by regulators and the FIA.

Carey said: "I am thrilled to take up the role of Chairman of Formula One and have the opportunity to work alongside Bernie Ecclestone, CVC, and the Liberty Media team.

"I greatly admire Formula One as a unique global sports entertainment franchise attracting hundreds of millions of fans each season from all around the world.

"I see great opportunity to help Formula One continue to develop and prosper for the benefit of the sport, fans, teams and investors alike."

Bernie Ecclestone, pictured in 1978, once owned the Brabham F1 team. Credit: PA