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F1 owner Liberty Media to acquire MotoGP for €3.5B

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Apr 1, 2024
Jose Antonio Rueda (99) of Spain and Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM during the race day of the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal at Autodromo do Algarve on March 24, 2024 in Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal.

Jose Antonio Rueda of Spain during the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal on March 24. Photo: Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Liberty Media Corporation has agreed to acquire MotoGP rights-holder Dorna Sports from Bridgepoint and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for €3.5 billion, the companies announced Monday.

Why it matters: New ownership by John Malone's media company will likely bring more global attention to the sport, like it did with Formula One.

Zoom in: Liberty Media will acquire 86% of the company, it said in Monday's press release. MotoGP management will keep around 14%.

  • Liberty will pay about 65% in cash and 21% in shares of Liberty Formula One common stock, priced a 20-day volume-weighted average price prior to close. The deal's equity value is about €3.5 billion with the existing debt balance remaining in place.
  • Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta will remain in the position he has served since 1994. The company will stay headquartered in Madrid.

What they're saying: "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," Ezpeleta said in a statement.

By the numbers: CPP Investments' net proceeds are expected to be C$1.9 billion, about 75% in cash and 25% in stock, according to its own press release.

Context: Goldman Sachs served as financial adviser and provided committed debt financing to Liberty. O'Melveny & Myers served as legal counsel.

  • Moelis & Co. served as financial adviser and Latham & Watkins as legal counsel to Dorna.

What to watch: The deal is expected to close by year-end. But it could face regulatory scrutiny. As the FT noted, CVC Capital Partners was forced to sell ownership of MotoGP in 2006 when it owned both that and F1.

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