Formula 1 Owner Liberty Media Buys MotoGP, Expanding Sports Portfolio; Deal Values Motorcycle Racing Circuit At $4.5 Billion

Billionaire investor John. Malone’s Liberty Media has inked a deal to acquire 86% of Dorna Sports, the exclusive rights holder to the MotoGP world championship, from Bridgepoint and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The deal for the motorcycle racing circuit, which reflects a 4.2 billion-euro (or $4.5 billion) enterprise value for MotoGP, expands Liberty’ sports assets led by Formula 1 racing. MotoGP will be attributed to Liberty Media’s Formula One Group tracking stock (FWONA). The deal is expected to close by year end.

MotoGP features races with top speeds above 360 kilometers per hour (223 miles per hour) and lean angles of over 60 degrees. From its first season in 1949 that 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,” Liberty said.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna since 1994, will continue to run the business.

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

“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.”

Deal terms: Liberty Media will acquire 86% of MotoGP with MotoGP management retaining approximately 14% of their equity in the business. The transaction reflects an equity value of €3.5 billion 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 and 14% of retained MotoGP management equity. The cash consideration will be funded with a mix of cash and debt, subject to market conditions.

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