New MotoGP owners, Liberty Media Dorna takeover

Dorna to retain management team led by Carmelo Ezpeleta; deal valued at €4.2 billion.

Formula 1 owner Liberty Media has announced an agreement to acquire MotoGP, through a takeover of current rights holder Dorna.

The official announcement confirms that the current Dorna management structure, led by CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta will continue. Liberty Media will acquire 86 percent of Dorna, in a deal with an enterprise value of €4.2 billion (over Rs 37,000 crore) and an equity value of €3.5 billion (over Rs 31,000 crore).

  1. Liberty Media to acquire 86 percent of Dorna
  2. Carmelo Ezpeleta will remain CEO

American mass media company Liberty has owned the rights to Formula 1 since 2016. The championship has since witnessed a spike in popularity, especially in America, partly due to the success of the Drive to Survive Netflix series.

The company is now set to acquire approximately 86 percent of Dorna, which has held the commercial and TV rights to MotoGP since 1992. Dorna also holds exclusive rights to Moto2, Moto3, MotoE, and the Superbike World Championships, among others.  The acquisition is expected to be completed by end-2024 and is subject to clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities.

The official announcement stresses that Dorna will “remain an independently run company” and business will remain based in Madrid. Carmelo Ezpeleta will continue in his role as CEO and MotoGP will retain its current management team.

“We are thrilled to expand our portfolio of leading live sports and entertainment assets with the acquisition of MotoGP,” said 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.”

Before the Liberty takeover, British private investment company Bridgepoint Group owned 39 percent of Dorna, while the Canadian public pension fund CPPIB owned 31 percent. Under the current deal, Dorna management will retain approximately 14 percent of their equity business.

“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,” said Ezpeleta.

“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.”

Also see:

Portuguese GP: Jorge Martin wins to lead MotoGP world championship

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