Americans Already Owned Formula 1. Now They'll Pay Billions to Own MotoGP Too

Liberty Media will soon own MotoGP too 6 photos
Photo: MotoGP
Ducati wins 2023 MotoGP, WorldSBK, and WorldSSPDucati wins 2023 MotoGP, WorldSBK, and WorldSSPDucati wins 2023 MotoGP, WorldSBK, and WorldSSPDucati wins 2023 MotoGP, WorldSBK, and WorldSSPDucati wins 2023 MotoGP, WorldSBK, and WorldSSP
The motorsport world has several major competitions, but few of them are as visible on a global level as Formula 1 and MotoGP. Created for the purpose of racing vehicles on four and two wheels, respectively, the two racing series have long been considered the pinnacle of motorsport and, thus, very coveted assets to have. And guess what: now a single American company owns them both.
Yesterday was April Fool's Day, so not exactly the best moment to announce huge business deals. Yet that's exactly what the current owner of Formula 1 did, causing some to scratch their heads, others to be displeased, and some to jump for joy.

Liberty Media is a mass media company that has been around since 1991, when it was born as an offshoot of U.S.-based cable TV company TCI. It stayed mostly in the shadows, with few of the world's Formula 1 fans having any idea that such a thing as Liberty Media exists.

That changed in the late 2010s, when the company bought the controlling interest in Formula One Group, Formula 1's commercial rights holder, for roughly $4.4 billion and became the talk of the world. Liberty pulled a similar move this week on a company called Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder for MotoGP.

Dorna Sports has been around since 1988, when it entered this world as the organizer of a much older motorcycle racing competition called now the FIM World Championship Grand Prix. Shortened to MotoGP, the series has grown into one of the most important kind of motorsport in the world.

How important? Enough so for Liberty Media to pay about as much as it did for the Formula One Group and take over Dorna Sports.

The American company announced the takeover on April 1, saying the enterprise value of MotoGP is worth €4.2 billion ($4.5 billion), and that the equity value sits at €3.5 billion ($3.7 billion).

For the money it will pay, Liberty Media will receive 86 percent of the MotoGP shares, with the rest of the stock remaining in the hands of the competition's management. As for Dorna Sports, nothing will change for the Spain-based company, not even its CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta.

Liberty says "the acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end 2024" and that it is, naturally, subject to clearances and approvals from relevant authorities. As far as the competition itself is concerned, we're promised Liberty intends to "grow the sport for MotoGP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders."

The change of ownership will likely not affect the ongoing season, which has a calendar with 21 races to be held in 17 countries. Whatever the Americans have planned for the series will likely manifest from 2025 onwards, and we can't wait to see what the new year and owner bring.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various Ducati MotoGP images.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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