The two flagship disciplines of motorsport now have the same owner. The American group Liberty Media, which already owns Formula 1, announced on Monday April 1 the acquisition of the company Dorna Sports, holder of the rights to the MotoGP world championship.

Liberty Media will acquire, in cash and shares, 86% of Dorna Sports, with the company’s management retaining control of the remaining shares, for an amount that values ​​this Madrid-based company at €4.2 billion, debt understood.

“We are very pleased to expand our portfolio in the sports and entertainment sector with the acquisition of the MotoGP championship,” Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei commented in a press release. This is a growing business, and we want to make it grow further for MotoGP fans, the teams, its commercial partners and our shareholders. »

Common strategies

Dorna Sports, whose CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, will remain in office according to Liberty Media, was previously controlled by the Bridgepoint fund and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Fund. “This is the ideal step in the evolution of MotoGP, and we are excited about what this new milestone will bring to Dorna, the MotoGP paddock and motorsport fans,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, quoted in the same press release.

The operation, which Liberty Media says it hopes to complete by the end of 2024, remains subject to the approval of regulatory authorities in several jurisdictions, recalls the American group. the Luxembourg CVC fund, also owner for a time of Formula 1 and MotoGP, was forced by the European competition watchdog to sell, in 2006, the motorcycle championship after having acquired Formula 1, of which it ended up ceding control to Liberty Media in 2017.

The American group has increased the media visibility of F1 since it owned it. In particular by bringing Netflix into the paddocks, which produces a series every year, “Drive to survive”, which manages to script a world championship that is often monotonous due to the domination of the Red Bull team. Formula 1 also did well during the Covid 19 pandemic by being one of the first sporting disciplines to resume when most major competitions were at a standstill.

Dorna Sports and Liberty Media are also developing joint strategies for the development of new competition formats. The two groups have, for example, launched “sprint” races in recent seasons, the day before the Grands Prix, which distribute points to drivers and offer the motorsport public new high-stakes events.