Turkish F1 firm on sale

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Turkish company which built and operates Istanbul’s Formula 1 circuit will go under the hammer next week and seven companies have expressed an interest, its owners said yesterday. Istanbul’s Chambers of Commerce Chairman Murat Yalcintas did not put a price on the 96.99 percent stake in Motor Sporlari Organizasyon (MSO) to be sold but said the firm spent 250 million lira (161 million euros) building the Istanbul Park track. Istanbul’s track was well received at its debut last August, with McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Formula 1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone likening it to the formidable Belgian circuit in Spa. Yalcintas said four foreigners and three locals had expressed their interest, including the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies. The other two Turkish firms were «mainstays of the Turkish economy,» he told a news conference. MSO is currently 70 percent-owned by FIYAS, which in turn is owned by the Istanbul Chambers of Commerce and the Turkish Union of Chambers and Bourses. The rest is held by the Turkish Formula 1 Association. In the coming days FIYAS will increase its stake to 96.99 percent, leaving its partners with just 3.01 percent. The tender will open on Monday, then a short list will be made on March 17 and published on March 22 after Ecclestone’s approval. A deal is expected to be signed on April 14. Yalcintas said FIYAS would continue to run the track if offers were not up to scratch.

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