UPDATE 1-Motor racing-Buyout group HIG set to buy historic Nuerburgring

FRANKFURT, March 5 Thu Mar 6, 2014 12:04am IST

Related Topics

FRANKFURT, March 5 (Reuters) - An investor group led by buyout firm HIG Capital is poised to acquire the financially troubled Nuerburgring race track in Germany, two sources familiar with the transaction said on Wednesday.

The circuit went into administration in 2012 after local politicians loaded it with debt equating to around 50 years worth of profit, and the famed and once-feared track started looking for a new owner in the spring of 2013.

The HIG consortium HIG has already registered the acquisition of substantial parts of Nuerburgring's assets with the German competition authority, the Federal Cartel Authority said on its website.

According to weekly publication Wirtschaftswoche, HIG is paying no more than 60-70 million euros ($82.4-96.2 million)for Nuerburgring. HIG Capital declined to comment on the purchase.

HIG looks to have outmanoeuvred Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who had also submitted an offer for the circuit, which at 20km is the world's longest race track but has not hosted a Grand Prix since Niki Lauda crashed there in 1976.

The adjacent modern F1 track, which is 5.1km long, first hosted Formula One in 1984.

The assets include the track and adjacent amusement park which features a rollercoaster designed to mimic an F1 car.

With Nuerburgring, however, still to be sold off, Germany's future in Formula One was less assured despite the heavyweight presence of Mercedes in the championship, Ecclestone told Reuters on Wednesday.

Nuerburgring currently alternates with Hockenheim as German Grand Prix host and Ecclestone said he was trying to do a deal with the latter circuit to take on the race every year.

"It depends who buys it," he said when asked about the chances of Formula One returning to the Nuerburgring, one of the sport's historic tracks albeit heavily modified from the fearsome one used from the 1950s to 1970s.

Completed in 1927, the original Ring was built to showcase German auto engineering and racing prowess, and the country's deep-pocketed carmakers had been cited as potential bidders.

An official for the administrator said that no decision on a buyer has yet been made. ($1 = 0.7278 euros) (Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin, Writing by Arno Schuetze and Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

New Phone

New Phone

Samsung unveils sleek new Galaxy phones to battle Apple.  Full Article 

MH370 Search

MH370 Search

Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

England under Fire

England under Fire

Changes demanded after England's latest World Cup flop.  Full Article 

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin protesters rally in New York after Nemtsov's murder.  Full Article 

Brit Awards

Brit Awards

Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage