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Group Buys Half of Formula One Biz

March 22, 2000

MUNICH, Germany (AP) _ A fast-growing German media group, EM.TV and Merchandising, is buying 50 percent of the holding company that runs Formula One racing in a cash and share deal worth about $1.6 billion.

EM.TV, which made headlines last month when it purchased the Jim Henson Co., said Wednesday it was in talks to acquire a further stake in SLEC Holding, which owns the Formula One Administration, within a year.

The acquisition consists of a cash component of $712.5 million and a stock component of about 10 million shares, EM.TV said. EM.TV’s share price on the Frankfurt-based Neue Markt was 90.30 euros ($88), down 5.30 euros.

EM.TV bought 50 percent of SLEC Holding by buying out Speed Investment Ltd.

Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, the investment arm of Deutsche Bank, and Hellman and Friedman, a U.S. investment firm, had owned Speed Investment. The latter had a 37.5 percent stake in SLEC, the former 12.5 percent.

The other 50 percent of SLEC will remain in the hands of the family of Bernie Ecclestone, the principal administrator of Formula One.

``This agreement certainly represents the single most important deal in our company’s history. It means we will, through Formula One, be involved in the marketing of one of the most interesting and lucrative sports entertainment events in the world,″ EM.TV said.

``Our know-how will help to exploit Formula One in the brand development segment and on the Internet,″ the company added.

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