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Liberty Media to acquire 86 percent ownership of MotoGP-Dorna

Liberty Media has entered into an agreement to acquire Dorna Sports, S.L., the exclusive commercial rights holder to the MotoGP World Championship, from Bridgepoint and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments).

From its first season in 1949, which staged six rounds across Europe, MotoGP has grown significantly and will host 21 races across 17 countries for the 2024 season. The business benefits from an attractive financial profile with diversified and contracted revenue streams, high EBITDA margins, and low capital intensity, resulting in significant free cash flow. Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna since 1994, will continue to run the business headquartered in Madrid.

Liberty Media will acquire 86% of MotoGP with MotoGP management retaining approximately 14% of their equity in the business. (Photo credit: MotoGP/Liberty Media)

“We are thrilled to expand our portfolio of leading live sports and entertainment assets with the acquisition of MotoGP,” says Greg Maffei, Liberty Media president and CEO. “MotoGP is a global league with a loyal, enthusiastic fan base, captivating racing and a highly cash flow generative financial profile. Carmelo and his management team have built a great sporting spectacle that we can expand to a wider global audience. The business has significant upside, and we intend to grow the sport for MotoGP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders.”

Dorna has seen continued growth over the years, expanding from solely MotoGP to include other leading motorcycle racing championships worldwide. Dorna holds exclusive rights to MotoGP feeder series Moto2 and Moto3, MotoE, the Superbike World Championship, and the FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end 2024, but it must first pass regulator scrutiny. Liberty is confident it will clear these hurdles despite owning both F1 and MotoGP, two major motorsports franchises.

“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,” says Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna. “We are proud of the global sport we’ve grown, and this transaction is a testament to the value of the sport today and its growth potential. Liberty has an incredible track record in developing sports assets and we could not wish for a better partner to expand MotoGP’s fanbase around the world.”

Liberty Media will acquire 86% of MotoGP with MotoGP management retaining approximately 14% of their equity in the business. The transaction reflects an enterprise value for MotoGP of €4.2 billion ($4.5 billion USD) and an equity value of €3.5 billion ($3.7 billion USD) with the existing debt balance at MotoGP expected to remain in place after close.

The equity consideration to sellers is expected to be comprised of approximately 65% cash, 21% in shares of Series C Liberty Formula One common stock (Nasdaq: FWONK) and 14% of retained MotoGP management equity. The cash consideration will be funded with a mix of cash and debt, subject to market conditions.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end 2024 and is subject to the receipt of clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities in various jurisdictions. Industry insiders note that CVC Capital Partners, MotoGP’s former owner, had to sell when it bought into Formula One in 2006.

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