Apple Inc. might be planning to take ownership of the embattled high-speed racing series Formula One as a way to hike its visibility in the automotive industry ahead of the rumored Apple Car, according to rumors on Wednesday. These rumors suggest a new round of due diligence is underway currently in preparation of a possible bid from the iPhone maker, said F1 blogger Joe Saward.
Not many details known
The F1 blogger was unable to nail down any important details and was unable to procure any strong information beyond the speculations. However, it is widely known that “F1 Supremo” and British businessman Bernie Ecclestone are looking for a buyer.
The Sun reported last year that CVC, a holding company that bought a controlling interest in the 40-year-old sport in 2007, had agreed to sell its remaining 35% share to unnamed parties for 6 billion pounds (more than $8.5 billion at the time). That deal apparently fell through, but the company and Ecclestone are said to still be keen on unloading their stake.
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According to Saward, three elements would make the purchase of F1 a logical step of Apple. The tech giant can afford, it can boost sales of Apple TVs, and it can get people thinking about its brand in relation to cars.
How could Apple benefit from the deal?
For Apple, a bid would represent a huge shift in business strategy. The Silicon Valley giant is widely known to buy startups and smaller firms but not big-ticket items or big firms like a major racing establishment.
However, as Saward notes, the iPhone maker would stand to gain valuable digital content rights for the Apple TV with the deal. In addition, F1 could give Apple access to the automotive racing world, specifically, automakers and top-tier teams like Ferrari and Williams Martini Racing. And no doubt Apple’s rumored in-house electric car initiative rumored to be code-named “Project Titan” would gain a lot of benefit from the connections made at what many consider to be auto sports’ top echelon.
A successful bid would buy a seat at the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), F1’s governing body, as well. The FIA supervises the up-and-coming and, more relevant to the so-called “Apple Car,” Formula E electric car series.
The Formula One group did not respond to request for comment. The iPhone maker declined to comment as well. The ownership rights for the racing event are estimated to be worth approximately $8.5 billion.