Formula One Owners Liberty Media Buy MotoGP For $4.5 bn

Liberty Media, the proprietors of Formula One, agreed to buy MotoGP on Monday in a deal for roughly $4.5 billion, the American corporation announced.

MotoGP stated in a statement that Liberty Media would buy a “approximately 86 percent” interest from Spain-based owners Dorna for 4.2 billion euros ($4.5 billion).

The transaction is planned to be completed by the end of 2024, subject to clearances and permissions from competition and foreign investment law agencies in multiple jurisdictions.

Liberty won’t be the first business to buy 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 €4.2 billion and an equity value of €3.5 billion, with MotoGP’s existing debt balance expected to remain in place after close.”

Liberty were not the only company interested in acquiring Dorna.

According to a report last week in the Financial Times Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), owners of French champions Paris Saint-Germain, and TKO Group Holdings, which comprises mixed martial arts organisation UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), had also held talks with 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 $8 billion for Formula One in 2017, the sport’s popularity has skyrocketed, and Maffei claimed last year that while F1 was not for sale, it was now worth “a hell of a lot more” than $20 billion.

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