Formula 1: Liberty Media’s race across the regulatory finish line

Published 31 May 2017 By: Benoît Keane

Motorsport racing line

The acquisition of the Formula One Group by Liberty Media has been approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the United Kingdom as well as by national competition authorities in other countries (a copy of the CMA’s decision is available here[1]). Although the deal did not meet the thresholds for an EU-wide merger review, the European Commission is being urged to conduct a separate competition inquiry. 

This article explores the reasoning of the UK competition authority for clearing the deal and assesses the likelihood of further competition investigations under the authorities’ broader enforcement powers. Specifically it looks at:

  • The nature of the deal

  • Notification of Formula One Group acquisition to the European Commission

  • The Competition and Markets Authority’s review

  • Analysis and comment, including conflict of interest concerns

  • Conclusions

 

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Benoît Keane

Benoît Keane

Benoît Keane specialises in European sports law. Based in Brussels, he acts in cases before the European Commission and European Court of Justice as well as in cases before national courts where there is an EU law dimension. He has participated in many of the leading European sports law cases of recent years, including the competition law cases relating to financial fair play, third party ownership and sports eligibility rules. He has also appeared as a legal expert on EU law before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.