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Liberty keen for teams to invest in F1

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Formula One's incoming owners Liberty Media have set aside $400 million worth of shares for teams to invest in.

Liberty is hoping to complete its deal to acquire full control of F1's commercial rights by the end of the month after the second stage of its acquisition received approval from the FIA earlier this week. The American media company is keen for teams to buy a shareholding of the sport they compete in and on Thursday it confirmed it would set aside a proportion of shares for that purpose.

"We think it's important to offer the teams the chance to invest in F1 and further align our interests," Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty said. "We look forward to working with the teams to increase the appeal of this iconic sport and enhance the F1 business."

New F1 chairman Chase Carey added: "Several of the teams have expressed interest in investing and we have already begun productive discussions to make the sport more competitive and even more exciting."

The shares will be offered at a preferential rate of $21.26 and any of the shares not bought by the teams within six months of Liberty's acquisition will be retired. According to a report in Auto Motor und Sport, initial interest from the teams has been low, partly because the shares have to be held for at least ten years and do not afford any voting rights.

Speaking to Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten in a recent interview, Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, whose company runs two teams on the F1 grid, said he was undecided on whether to invest.

"I honestly do not know if I should buy shares. On the one hand, it would be obvious, because Formula One also needs owners who are not car makers. On the other hand, the value depends on the teams that commit themselves [to F1].

"We have to wait and see what happens after the end of the current commercial agreements [due to expire in 2020]. This will probably soon begin to be negotiated."