F1 owner Liberty Media eyeing ‘€4bn’ MotoGP acquisition

Bridgepoint, which owns MotoGP's commercial rights holder Dorna, is currently exploring a sale with several bidders.
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  • Amazon, Netflix and Disney also reportedly interested in acquisition
  • Warner Bros Discovery in advanced talks for MotoGP’s US media rights

Formula One owner Liberty Media is reportedly one of several bidders exploring a €4 billion (US$4.3 billion) acquisition of MotoGP’s commercial rights holder, according to Sky News.

Bridgepoint, which owns around 40 per cent of MotoGP’s parent company Dorna, is in advanced talks with several prospective buyers.

A smaller stake is owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), while the remaining shares are held by Dorna’s management.

Liberty Media is understood to be the frontrunner, but there is competition for the property and the eventual price could deviate from the current €4 billion target.

Bridgepoint bought MotoGP’s parent company from CVC Capital Partners for a reported €500 million (US$543 million) in 2006, before selling a stake to CPPIB six years later.

Liberty Media’s blueprint for expansion in the US will also be useful for a series already making strides in the country, with US-based team Trackhouse Racing joining the series ahead of this season.

However, if Liberty Media’s bid proves successful, questions will be raised around any potential competition probe.

CVC Capital Partners sold its ownership stake to Bridgepoint after the former bought into Formula One, which drew scrutiny from EU watchdogs.

The ownership of Formula One eventually transferred to Liberty Media in 2016 in a deal worth US$8 billion.

Sky News reports a transaction involving Bridgestone’s stake being transferred from one of its funds to another in 2019 valued Dorna at €2.5 billion (US$2.7 billion).

Spanish newspaper Expansión has reported that Amazon, Netflix and Disney are also interested in purchasing the property.

Meanwhile, Sports Business Journal (SBJ) reports that Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) is in advanced talks to acquire MotoGP’s US media rights.

NBC has broadcasted the global motorcycling series since 2020, but these discussions would see the property move this season.

BlackBook says…

Dorna chief executive Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed rumours of a potential sale in January and discussions appear to have advanced quickly.

Falling under Liberty Media ownership would bring huge commercial benefits to MotoGP, with the company having boosted Formula One’s global standing. The series’ 2023 revenue soared 25 per cent to US$3.2 billion, not far off MotoGP’s overall valuation.

However, it would be difficult to compare this acquisition with Liberty Media’s purchase of Formula One.

MotoGP has already made considerable strides in the US, so any credit for that must go to the existing management rather than being passed on to Liberty Media if this purchase is successful.

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