A motorsport publishing business part-owned by a McLaren executive is taking a multimillion pound stake in Formula E, the electric car-racing series.
Sky News understands that MN Network, which recently bought F1 Racing and other automotive titles from Lord Heseltine’s media group Haymarket, is acquiring the Formula E shareholding in a deal to be announced later this weekend.
MN is minority-owned by Zak Brown, a senior motorsport executive who was recently appointed to head McLaren’s F1 and other racing operations.
The move to buy a stake in Formula E comes as the electric car-racing series enters its third year amid significant change in the ownership of elite motorsport.
Liberty Media is finalising a deal to take control of Formula One, which is expected to herald a shake-up of the administration and marketing of the world’s most-watched motorsport franchise.
The financial gulf between the teams at opposite ends of the F1 grid was highlighted this week, however, when Sky News revealed that the company behind the Manor Racing team was calling in administrators after failing to find new investors.
Formula E has attracted major car manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover, and it now attracts the second-highest digital audience for a motorsport series behind F1.
It was unclear on Saturday what valuation the MN stake purchase would attribute to Formula E.
The series’ biggest shareholders are the sister media companies, Liberty Global and Discovery Communications, which took a one-third stake in Formula E in 2015 for about $55m.
Other investors include Qualcomm, through its venture-capital arm Qualcomm Ventures, and Amura Capital, a private equity fund.
MN is purchasing its shares from a Russian minority investor, according to insiders.
Neither Formula E nor Mr Brown could be reached for comment on Saturday.
(c) Sky News 2017: Electric car series Formula E gets new backer