US-based F1 owner Liberty Media announces MotoGP takeover

PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/ AFP

Formula One's US-based owner Liberty Media has announced a takeover of MotoGP's parent company Dorna, valuing the world's leading motorcycle racing championship at 4.2 billion euros (AED 16.63 billion), MotoGP said in a statement on Monday.

Dorna will stay an independently run company attributed to Liberty Media's Formula One Group tracking stock and continue to be based in Madrid, with long-serving Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta remaining in his position, the statement added.

"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.

The deal will see Liberty Media acquiring approximately 86 per cent of Dorna, with Dorna management retaining around 14% of its equity. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

The transaction reflects an enterprise value of 4.2 billion euros for Dorna/MotoGP and an equity value of 3.5 billion euros, the statement said.

Dorna Sports, which was roughly 40 per cent owned by British private investment company Bridgepoint Group, also promotes the World Superbike Championship and all-electric MotoE.

"We are thrilled to expand our portfolio of leading live sports and entertainment assets with the acquisition of MotoGP," Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei said.

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

The takeover could attract regulatory scrutiny. CVC Capital Partners, who sold Formula One to Liberty in 2017, were cleared by the European Commission to buy F1 in 2006 on condition they sold Dorna.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) bought a 39% stake in Dorna from Bridgepoint in 2012. The remaining shares were owned by Dorna management, whose stake has dropped to 14% following the takeover.

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