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Dhaka Tribune

F1 owners Liberty Media buy MotoGP for $4.5bn

Liberty Media would acquire 86% stake from Spain-based owners Dorna in a deal valued at 4.2bn euros ($4.5bn)

Update : 01 Apr 2024, 08:29 PM

Formula One owners Liberty Media have agreed to buy MotoGP Monday in a deal valued at around $4.5bn, the American company said. 

MotoGP said in a statement that Liberty Media would acquire "approximately 86%" 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% of Dorna, with Dorna management retaining approximately 14% of their equity in the business.

"The transaction reflects an enterprise value for Dorna/MotoGP of €4.2bn and an equity value of €3.5bn, 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, owners of French champions Paris Saint-Germain, and TKO Group Holdings, which comprises mixed martial arts organization UFC and World Wrestling Entertainment, 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 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 eight billion 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 $20bn.

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