Liberty Media and Discovery Negotiating F1 Investment with CVC and Lehman
Liberty Media Chairman John Malone.Reuters

Media firms Liberty Global and Discovery Communications are negotiating with Formula One's backers to plug a $1bn gap in the valuation of the motor sport as they seek to acquire a 49% stake in the business.

London-based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, F1's largest shareholder, and Lehman Brothers Holdings want nearly $500m (£294m, €368m) more for the stake, Bloomberg reported.

Deliberations with CVC and Lehman are under way and a deal may not be struck, the report added.

CVC could also float Formula One, according to Bloomberg, but an initial public offering (IPO) is unlikely to happen before the culmination of F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone's German trial.

Pursued by Reuters, the firms were unavailable for comment.

CVC holds around 35% stake in Formula One while Lehman owns 12.3%.

Liberty, the Europe-focused cable firm controlled by media chief John Malone, and US-based Discovery share a working relationship.

The pair bought independent British television producer All3Media for £550m in May 2014, from its London-based private equity owner Permira Advisers.

Ecclestone Trial

In April, the F1 boss went on trial for alleged bribery in Germany. Prosecutors in Munich have charged Ecclestone, 83, with bribing jailed BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky with $44m (£26m, €32m) to push through the sale of F1 to CVC in 2006.

Prosecutors allege that Ecclestone favoured CVC because it was committed to retaining him as chief executive.

Ecclestone has denied the allegations.

London Ruling

In February, Ecclestone won a High Court civil case against him as a judge in London rejected a £85m compensation claim by a TV firm.