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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bernie Ecclestone on Investing in QPR

The Business Aug 29 - Ecclestone says he will consider QPR bid Rupert Steiner

"Bernie Eccelstone, the billionaire entrepreneur behind Formula One racing, says he is one of the mystery investors who have been approached to join a consortium mounting a bid for Queens Park Rangers (QPR), the troubled London football club.
It is the first time Ecclestone, who has also been linked with a £780m (E1.1bn, $1.5bn) bid to buy Arsenal, has confirmed he is considering joining Flavio Briatore, the Renault F1 boss, who is in informal talks to buy QPR.
“Briatore would like me to join him,” Ecclestone told The Business. “I am not sure what I am going to do at the moment. It depends how much it is. If it is sensible money then maybe yes, why not.”
Last weekend Briatore, speaking at the Turkish grand prix, said: “We have a bunch of friends together. We’ve been talking for the past month but I’ve no idea where we are. QPR are talking to a lot of people.” He refused to name the “friends” involved.
Ecclestone said that any investment would be a private venture rather than take place though his family trusts or the many holding companies connected with F1: “I am looking at it. It would be me personally – nothing do with the trusts. They could never get involved in this sort of thing – it would be more a hobby. It’s a lot smaller than Arsenal. It can only go up, it can’t go down because it is just about the bottom of everything.”
The club, which is owned by a Monaco-based consortium led by Antonio Caliendo, the club chairman, survived administration six years ago and has debts of £21m. A £10m loan to ABC Corporation of Panama is secured against the Loftus Park Stadium in Shepherd’s Bush, which is worth more than £20m.
The board of QPR, currently in talks with three separate parties, expects to have identified a preferred bidder by the end of September." The Business

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