Liberty Media, the US media giant and owner of motor racing’s Formula 1 (F1), has concluded its acquisition of Dorna Sports, the commercial rightsholder and organizer of motorcycling’s premier MotoGP series, for a deal valued at over €4 billion ($4.3 billion).

Liberty will acquire 86% of MotoGP, with the series' management retaining approximately 14% of their equity in the business.

The transaction reflects an enterprise value for MotoGP of €4.2 billion and an equity value of €3.5 billion with the existing debt balance at MotoGP expected to remain in place after close. Liberty agreed the deal with Bridgepoint, the UK-based private equity firm and largest shareholder in Dorna.

The agreement will see Dorna remain an independently run company attributed to Liberty Media’s Formula One Group tracking stock. Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna’s chief executive since 1994, will remain in his position and continue to run the business with his management team headquartered in Madrid.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end 2024 and is subject “to the receipt of clearances and approvals by competition and foreign investment law authorities in various jurisdictions.”

Greg Maffei, Liberty Media president and chief executive, said: “MotoGP is a global league with a loyal, enthusiastic fan base, captivating racing, and a highly cash flow generative financial profile.

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“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.”

Ezpeleta added: “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.

“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.”

Bridgepoint bought its interest in Dorna from CVC Capital Partners in 2006.

The group owned 40% of MotoGP, with Dorna and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) holding smaller stakes. CPPIB bought its holding in 2012.

Bridgepoint paid around €500 million to buy CVC’s 74% stake in Dorna 18 years ago, while the stake’s value when Bridgepoint transferred it from one fund to another in 2019 came to around €2.5 billion.

Dorna also holds exclusive rights to other motorcycle racing series, including MotoGP feeder series Moto2 and Moto3, MotoE, the FIM Superbike World Championship, and the new FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship.

The acquisition puts Liberty in an extremely commanding position in motorsport where it could potentially combine the commercial operations of F1 and MotoGP.

Liberty acquired F1 in 2016 and has grown the series’ global appeal and commercial value over that period, largely thanks to the popularity of the hit Netflix documentary series surrounding it, Drive to Survive.

The company recently revealed F1’s revenue for 2023 climbed to $3.2 billion, up from $2.57 billion in 2022.

The 2024 F1 season is set to generate over $500 million in annual sponsorship revenue, according to a new GlobalData report.