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F1 owners Liberty Media purchase MotoGP for $4.5bn

The acquisitio­n is expected to be completed by the end of 2024


Formula One owners Liberty Media have agreed to buy MotoGP yesterday in a deal valued at around $4.5bn, the American company said. MotoGP said in a statement that Liberty Media would acquire “approximat­ely 86 percent” stake from Spain-based owners Dorna in a deal valued at 4.2bn euros ($4.5bn).

The acquisitio­n is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 subject to clearances and approvals by competitio­n and foreign investment law authoritie­s in various jurisdicti­ons. Liberty will not be the first company to own both Formula One and MotoGP.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners had owned both F1 and MotoGP but was forced to sell the motorcycle series to buy F1 after EU competitio­n regulators raised objections. “Liberty Media Corporatio­n has announced an agreement to acquire MotoGP. MotoGP is the pinnacle of two wheels,” read a statement issued by MotoGP.

“Liberty Media will acquire approximat­ely 86 percent of Dorna, with Dorna management retaining approximat­ely 14 percent of their equity in the business. The transactio­n reflects an enterprise value for Dorna/MotoGP of EUR4.2bn and an equity value of EUR3.5bn, with MotoGP’s existing debt balance expected to remain in place after close.”

Liberty were not the only company interested in acquiring Dorna. However, it was Liberty who emerged the winners.

“We are thrilled to expand our portfolio of leading live sports and entertainm­ent assets with the acquisitio­n of MotoGP,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO. “MotoGP is a global league with a loyal, enthusiast­ic fan base, captivatin­g racing and a highly cash flow generative financial profile. Carmelo and his management team have built a great sporting spectacle that we can expand to a wider global audience.”

Long serving CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta will remain in the post he has occupied since 1994 with the business headquarte­rs remaining in Madrid. Ezpeleta said he was looking forward to the 21-race global championsh­ip evolving even further.

“This is the perfect next step in the evolution of MotoGP, and we are excited for what this milestone brings to Dorna, the MotoGP paddock and racing fans,” said Ezpeleta.

“We are proud of the global sport we’ve

grown, and this transactio­n is a testament to the value of the sport today and its growth potential. Liberty has an incredible track record in developing sports assets and we could not wish for a better partner to expand MotoGP’s fanbase around the world.”

Since Liberty paid CVC 8bn dollars for F1 in 2017 the sport has enjoyed a spike in popularity and Maffei suggested last year that while F1 was not for sale it was worth now “a hell of a lot more” than $20 billion.

Maffei was asked if MotoGP would undergo major changes in order to prioritise revenue for the new owner. It was made clear that MotoGP would not – and could not – use street circuits, in the way that F1 sometimes does.

Maffei then added: “What we really saw in F1 was as we grew the fanbase your monetisati­on became easier. Because your partners, whether they be broadcast partners, promoter partners or sponsor partners and whether they are looking at branding or activation, and more and more at activation, it’s all part and parcel.

“As that excitement grows, as that demand

grows, as that audience grows, everything kind of flows together. That’s what we felt in Formula 1, those all came together. And I like to believe that is the potential here. MotoGP is an unbelievab­le product, we are not planning to change this sport. Our goal is to open that up to a broader audience. Open it up to a broader set of commercial partners of all flavours. Those go hand in hand.”

MotoGP returns in two weeks, for the third round of the 2024 season, at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas – the perfect time for USbased Liberty Media to make their presence felt. Liberty Media, who took over F1 in 2016, have received huge credit for increasing the sport’s popularity.

Netflix show ‘Drive To Survive’ was such a massive success that it has been replicated by multiple other sports, too.

F1 has expanded into America over the past few years too. Las Vegas and Miami are eyecatchin­g additions to the calendar. MotoGP could now expect to see Liberty Media get their teeth into how to grow the sport.

 ?? ?? MotoGP said that Liberty Media would acquire ‘approximat­ely 86 percent’ stake from Dorna.
MotoGP said that Liberty Media would acquire ‘approximat­ely 86 percent’ stake from Dorna.

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