F1 owners to release documents in $171m damages case

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CVC Capital Partners, the owners of Formula One, have been ordered to release hundreds of documents as a German media group pursues them in court for damages of $171 million.

Constantin Medien claim a stake held in F1 by the BayernLB bank was undervalued when CVC purchased F1 in 2006. The case will begin in October.

The Financial Times reported CVC will have to hand over due diligence reports on F1, items from a letter Bernie Ecclestone sent to CVC about F1’s income, CVC application for a loan, minutes of meetings, financial modeling and tax information.

Among those expected to be called as witnesses are Ecclestone, F1’s chief financial officer Duncan Llowarch and CVC co-chairman Duncan MacKenzie. Ecclestone’s lawyers say the stake was sold for a fair price.

The case comes at a sensitive time for F1’s owners as Ecclestone faces charges of bribing German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky during the sale of F1 to CVC.

The timing of the Constantin Medien case is set to coincide with CVC and Ecclestone’s plan to float F1 on the Singapore stock exchange later this year and could jeopardize their plans. A previous attempt to float F1 last year was postponed due to volatility in world markets.