F1 owner Liberty Media to buy MotoGP in $3.8 billion deal



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Formula 1 owner Liberty Media Corp. is buying the motorcycle racing league MotoGP World Championship from Bridgepoint and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board as part of a $3.8 billion (€3.5 billion) deal. 

Liberty Media is taking over Madrid-based MotoGP by buying its exclusive rights holder Dorna Sports with a combination of cash and shares of Series C Liberty Formula One common stock. The deal will bring one of the world’s biggest motor-racing brands and MotoGP — often described as the two-wheeled equivalent of Formula 1 — under a single roof. 

MotoGP is just the latest asset to be taken over by billionaire John Malone’s sprawling Liberty Media empire that already includes a wide range of media, communications and entertainment businesses such as concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. Since buying F1 in 2016, Liberty Media has targeted key markets including the U.S., attempted to grow the sport’s popularity through digital streaming and struck gold with the show Drive to Survive. 

The deal may draw scrutiny from antitrust regulators. The buyout firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. was forced to put MotoGP up for sale nearly two decades ago to gain antitrust approval from European regulators for its takeover of Formula 1 in 2005. MotoGP is planning to host 21 races across 17 countries in this year’s season, according to the company statement.

Liberty said it’s funding the deal with a mix of cash and debt and expects the transaction to close by the end of 2024. Dorna Sports Chief Executive Officer Carmelo Ezpeleta will continue to run the business. 

Liberty Media has plans to expand MotoGP’s events to a “wider global audience,” CEO Greg Maffei said in the company’s statement Monday. “The business has significant upside, and we intend to grow the sport for MotoGP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders,” he said. 

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as financial adviser to Liberty Media and is providing committed debt financing. O’Melveny & Myers LLP is acting as legal counsel. Moelis & Company LLC is financial adviser to Dorna, and Latham & Watkins LLP is legal counsel.

 



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