MotoGP: Liberty Media announce €4.2 billion acquisition of MotoGP

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Liberty Media, owners of Formula One since 2016, have confirmed the €4.2 billion acquisition of MotoGP.

Rumours have been circulating for several weeks that MotoGP may be subject to a takeover from the American company, with the purchase being announced on the morning of April 1. According to the Financial Times, a bid had also been tabled by TKO, owners of the UFC and WWE, whilst Qatar Sports Investments, owners of the French football club PSG, had shown interest.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, but is subject to the receipt of clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities in various jurisdictions. In 2006, CVC Capital Partners were forced to sell MotoGP as a condition of their purchase of F1, the concern being a single owner assuming such a dominant position within the motorsport industry.

Liberty Media will acquire approximately 86% of Dorna, with Dorna management retaining approximately 14% of their equity in the business. Dorna will remain as an independently run company, with CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and his team continuing to run the business. Dorna will continue to operate in Madrid.

“We are thrilled to expand our portfolio of leading live sports and entertainment assets with the acquisition of MotoGP,” Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO said in today’s statement.

“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. The business has significant upside, and we intend to grow the sport for MotoGP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders.”

F1 has seen a huge increase in popularity since Liberty Media’s takeover in 2016, mainly through its focus on social media and the launch of the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive during the Pandemic.

The championship has also thrived in America, with races now taking place at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), Miami and Las Vegas. F1’s success stateside is a major coup for Liberty Media, as its reputation had been destroyed due to the controversial American Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2005 – only six cars started the race due to tyre problems.

“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,” Ezpeleta said. “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 Media 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.

“The acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end 2024 and is subject to the receipt of clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities in various jurisdictions.”

The third round of the 2024 MotoGP season takes place at COTA on April 12-15.