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Buyout group HIG poised to buy historic Nuerburgring: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - An investor group led by buyout firm HIG Capital is poised to buy the financially troubled Nuerburgring race track, 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 feared track started looking for a new owner in the spring of 2013.

The 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 for Nuerburgring. HIG Capital declined to comment on the purchase.

HIG 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 in total, first hosted Formula One in 1984 but now shares the German Grand Prix with Hockenheim.

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.

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

An official for the administrator said that no decision on a buyer has been made yet.

(Reporting by Alexander Hübner; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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