F1 Owner Liberty Media Acquires Commercial Rights to MotoGP With $4.2B Valuation

With the deal expecting to close by end of 2024 pending regulatory clearances.

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Instagram | @motogp

Exciting news in the world of motorsports as Liberty Media Corporation announced on Monday that it would be acquiring all of the commercial rights to MotoGP™, adding the motorcycle racing series to its expansive portfolio of live sports and entertainment assets by the end of 2024. According to Monday’s announcement, Liberty Media, the American company that owns Formula 1, will reportedly acquire approximately 86% of Dorna Sports S.L., the exclusive commercial and television rights holder of MotoGP™.

MotoGP™ is the pinnacle of two wheels, with 22 of the fastest riders competing on purpose-built prototype motorcycles on some of the world’s greatest racetracks, reaching top speeds above 360 kilometers per hour/223 miles per hour. From the first season in 1949 that staged six rounds across Europe, the sport has grown to comprise more than 20 Grands Prix across five continents, with the television broadcast reaching hundreds of millions around the world.

Dorna’s management is expected to retain approximately 14% of their equity in the business. Carmelo Espeleta, who has served as Dorna’s CEO since 1994, will reportedly remain in his position as Dorna continues to operate out of its Madrid headquarters. This valuation, according to the announcement reflects an enterprise value of $4.2 billion USD for Dorna/MotoGP™, based on an equity value of $3.5 billion USD, with the expectation that MotoGP’s™ current debt balance will continue post-acquisition closure.

“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 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 Media 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.

Dorna also holds exclusive rights to other motorcycle racing series, including MotoGP™ feeder series Moto2™ and Moto3™, the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Championship, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and the new FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship. Its investment portfolio represents a significant part of the global motorcycle racing ecosystem. Those businesses are attributed to three tracking stock groups: the Liberty SiriusXM Group, the Formula One Group and the Liberty Live Group. Under the terms of the new agreement, Dorna will remain an independently operated company that is under Liberty Media’s Formula One Group tracking stock.

“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.”

While it’s aid that while its intention is to finalize the acquisition by the end of 2024, it also stated that it is “subject to the receipt of clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities in various jurisdictions” so as to avoid any potential anti-trust issues. An investor conference call, hosted by both Maffei and Ezpeleta, took place early Monday morning, diving deeper into the details of the new partnership.