F1 owner Liberty Media considering a €4 billion acquisition of MotoGP

F1 owner Liberty Media considering a €4 billion acquisition of MotoGP

Formula 1 owner Liberty Media is reportedly among several bidders considering a €4 billion (US$4.3 billion) acquisition of the company that owns the commercial rights to MotoGP, Dorna Sports.

Last week, reports surfaced in the Spanish press indicating that Formula 1 owner Liberty Media is attempting to expand its motorsport portfolio by attempting to acquire a majority share in Dorna Sports.

According to the report, British investment firm Bridgepoint Group is very close to selling Dorna Sports, the company that owns the commercial rights to MotoGP, in a deal that might be potentially worth over £3 billion.

Dorna chief executive Carmelo Ezpeleta previously confirmed rumours of a potential sale in January and discussions appear to have advanced quickly.

“The signs are always there,” Ezpeleta told Italian newspaper Repubblica when asked about the prospect of a sale in December. “I confirm the rumours, but I would like to know who is spreading them.

“Also because every day I receive two or three phone calls from credit institutions: they ask me if it is true that we are for sale. But the banks don’t want to buy, no: they present themselves as intermediaries in the operation.

“I can only say one thing: we are ready.”

Dorna is currently 39% owned by investment fund Bridgepoint, with Canadian public pension fund CPPIB owning a further 31% (sold to it by Bridgepoint in 2012) and the Ezpeleta family the majority owners of a further 20% of the business held by a collection of current and former employees.

By putting Liberty Media at the forefront of the acquisition race against other bidders, this move might bring about a drastic change in the worldwide motor racing setting.

Bridgepoint decides to sell Dorna Sports after over 20 years of ownership, during the course of which the company turned MotoGP into a very successful international sporting event. The substantial value that it has added to the series is reflected in the projected sale price of £3.5 billion ($4.43 billion).

This also comes after MotoGP’s 2023 revenue soared 25 per cent to US$3.2 billion, not far off MotoGP’s overall valuation.

The potential effects of Liberty Media’s acquisition of Dorna Sports on the future of Formula One and Moto GP are significant. There might be opportunities for joint technical innovation, streamlined operations, and cross-promotion by unifying the two organizations under one roof.

This approach corresponds with Liberty Media’s goal of developing a more comprehensive worldwide motorsports platform, which might lead to an increase in sponsorship opportunities and fan engagement. However the agreement also calls into question the level of competitiveness and the maintenance of each racing series’ unique identities.

Bridgepoint potentially selling Dorna Sports to Liberty Media represents a turning point in the history of motorsports. The excitement about the strategic direction and potential new prospects resulting from this union grows as the talks progress.

We believe that with new ownership MotoGP will continue to grow and enthrall spectators around the globe, solidifying its status as the world’s greatest motor racing event. We will be watching its development closely.

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