Owner of F1 makes official purchase of MotoGP for almost R$23 billion

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A Dorna Sports officially announced that the owner of Formula 1, Liberty Mediafinalized the purchase of the World Championship of MotoGP.

The North American entertainment company, which has held the rights to Formula 1 since 2016, will acquire Dorna, owner of MotoGP since 1992 and which also controls the WorldSBK and the MotoE World Championshipin a deal valued at 4.2 billion euros, around R$22.7 billion.

Liberty Media will acquire 86% of MotoGP, while MotoGP management will retain approximately 14% of its capital.

The equity consideration for the sellers is expected to be comprised of approximately 65% ​​in cash, 21% in Series C Liberty Formula 1 ordinary shares and 14% in retained MotoGP management capital.

“We are excited to expand our sports portfolio with the acquisition of MotoGP,” said Greg Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media.

“MotoGP is a global league with a loyal and enthusiastic fan base, captivating races and a highly cash-generating financial profile.

“Carmelo and his management team have built a great sporting spectacle that we can expand to a wider global audience. The deal has significant advantages and we intend to grow the sport for MotoGP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the year, pending receipt of authorizations and approvals from competition and foreign investment authorities.

Confirming the agreement took longer than both parties would have liked, as they had already agreed on the terms for some time. In fact, the initial plan was to announce the change before the opening stage of the MotoGP season, at the beginning of March.

However, the possible intervention of the European Commission body that regulates the competitive market led the American side to halt the agreement.

It remains to be seen how the European Commission will react after analyzing the case.

In 2006, CVC wanted control of F1 and MotoGP, but European antitrust authorities forced the Luxembourg fund to divest itself of its interests in MotoGP to finalize the purchase of F1, as the European body felt that a proprietary company of both categories would not be good for competition in the European Union.

In 2022, the last year in which the accounts are publicly available in the Commercial Register, Dorna Sports generated a turnover of 474.8 million euros, 33% more than in the previous year (2021), which had a loss of 7, 8 million euros, as a result of the echoes of the pandemic.

Race start

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Also in 2022, the Madrid-based company refinanced its debt to 975 million euros to increase its liquidity, a move that, at the same time, allowed it to distribute dividends of 390 million euros to its shareholders.

For Dorna, the Liberty route was always her favorite, but not the only one. Qatar Sports Investments, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and TKO, the media and entertainment conglomerate that, among other things, holds the rights to the UFC fighting championship, were also in the running.

Motorsport.com found that the alternative offered by Liberty is the one that offers the most guarantees to ensure the most organic transition possible.

It would not be surprising if the key positions that manage MotoGP, with Ezpeleta and his son, Carlos (sporting director), in charge, would remain in their positions for a period, probably established in contract.

In any case, it is logical to expect that the Liberty people will soon be in the MotoGP paddock, especially since the next race is the United States GP, scheduled for April 14th at the Austin circuit.

With Liberty’s entry onto the scene, it is understood that the entertainment giant intends to replicate, with nuances, the success achieved after taking over F1 in 2016.

The changes applied at all levels and the exposure of a category through a mass platform like Netflix – with the documentary series Drive to Survive, which coincided with the pandemic – led to levels of popularization never seen before.

At the same time, the calendar has grown and its presence is increasingly present in the United States, a territory where Dorna has had its eye on for some time.

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Owner official purchase MotoGP R23 billion

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