F1 owners Liberty Media "close" to €4bn purchase of MotoGP

Liberty Media deal to buy MotoGP would face regulatory scrutiny

Francesco Bagnaia, Tissot sprint race, Portuguese MotoGP, 23 March
Francesco Bagnaia, Tissot sprint race, Portuguese MotoGP, 23 March

Liberty Media, the owners of Formula 1, are reportedly in exclusive talks to buy Dorna, the MotoGP rights holder, for more than €4bn.

The Financial Times report that a deal is "close" which would unite the world's top car and motorcycle racing series under the same banner.

An announcement could come as early as next week, the report claims.

Liberty Media beat a rival bid from TKO, the company which owns UFC and WWE.

Qatar Sports Investments, who own football club Paris-Saint Germain, also held talks with Bridgepoint, the privaty equity firm involved in MotoGP.

But a deal between Liberty Media and Dorna would likely face regulatory scrutiny, the report states.

F1 and MotoGP were once both owned by the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. But CVC were forced to sell MotoGP when they bought into F1 due to EU regulations.

James Killick, a competition lawyer at White & Case, told the Financial Times that probes into the deal between Liberty Media and Dorna are "quite likely".

“I’d be very surprised if competition regulators didn’t look at it”, he said. “The question is, has the market changed?”

The shareholders of Dorna, who own MotoGP rights, are Bridgepoint, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Carmelo Ezpeleta who works as Dorna CEO.

Liberty Media have been credited with helping F1's growth since their takeover in 2017.

The Netflix series 'Drive To Survive' has enabled the fanbase to grow, while F1 has also prioritised impact via social media.

The F1 calendar has also grown under Liberty Media's leadership, and now includes races in Las Vegas, Miami, Jeddah and Doha.

The Financial Times reports that F1's operating profit in 2023 was $392m, a 64% growth from 2022. Revenue grew from $2.5bn to $3.2bn.

Dorna's revenue was €483m in 2023, by contrast.

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