Start, Moto GP, 2023

F1 owner Liberty Media confirms it is buying Moto GP for £3 billion

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Formula 1 and Moto GP will have the same owner as Liberty Media announced a takeover of the motorcycling series in a deal worth £3 billion.

Liberty, which bought F1 in 2017, is taking over Moto GP owner Dorna Sports, which it will buy from Bridgepoint and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The media company confirmed Moto GP will be added to the same tracking stock as F1. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta will remain in charge of the series.

“Moto GP is a global league with a loyal, enthusiastic fan base, captivating racing and a highly cash flow generative financial profile,” said Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei.

“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 Moto GP fans, teams, commercial partners and our shareholders.”

Liberty will spend £3bn (€3.5b) to acquire 86% of the Moto GP business. Moto GP management will retain the remaining 14%.

The deal values the motorcycling series at £3.59bn (€4.2bn). Liberty will hope to replicate the success it has enjoyed broadening F1’s appeal since it bought the series for £6bn ($8bn) seven years ago.

However their latest acquisition could attract the attention of regulators. CVC Capital Partners were forced to relinquish their ownership of Moto GP when they bought F1 in 2006.

Nonetheless Ezpeleta called Liberty’s deal “the perfect next step in the evolution of Moto GP.”

“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 Moto GP’s fanbase around the world.”

Liberty Media say they expect to conclude the deal by the end of the year.

More: Liberty “very confident” regulators won’t block bid to own both F1 and Moto GP

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Formula 1

Browse all Formula 1 articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

42 comments on “F1 owner Liberty Media confirms it is buying Moto GP for £3 billion”

  1. Only a matter of time before MotoGP debases itself with silly gimmicks like sprint ra- never mind.

    1. If F1 has to have sprint races (and it doesn’t) I’d rather they used the Moto GP approach of having them every weekend so the format is consistent. But obviously my first preference would be not to have them at all.

      1. Indeed, F1 owes much of its rise to prominence in the late 70s to the easily understood format. No non-championship races, no different teams all the time, no three and one car teams. Simple, easy, predictable. Same cars, same drivers, same format. None of this “oh Newgarden is the yellow car now?!” shenanigans.

        1. Indeed, even as a regular fan of Indycars, I find it hard to keep up with the changes of livery for some cars at some races. But then again, as a regular fan of F1, I find it hard to tell apart the 2 teammates of any given team, as they look almost identical. Whilst I can memorise each team’s T-cam colour differentiation, normal people will not be inclined to do so. Not a problem with Indycar, where every driver’s livery is unique. Which is easier for fans, is visually more diverse, and helps the teams get more sponsorship. It’s a no brainer win-win. So F1 have banned it for 50+ years.

          1. I hate the practice of drivers changing helmet design every weekend. It’s not exactly special if you change it at nearly every race anyway. I like drivers being able to show personal artistic expression, but that can be done with their primary helmet livery. I’d like to see helmet livery changes limited to a maximum of 5 GPs. That’s still nearly 25% of the races. Lewis had such a great helmet for most of his career. Don’t get why he abandoned it for all these highly forgettable ones.

            To make it easier to identify the driver (though it’s never been a problem for me, which is why I’m amazed how often the commentators get it wrong), it’d be neat if each driver had their own little logo (numbers are boring) someone visible or a sticker of the driver’s helmet (like how often driver options are represented in video games by their helmet).

    2. So you think that Liberty Media will spend 3 billion pounds in order to lower the status of it’s acquisition? Dorna have let MotoGp stagnate in the past few years so it needs new management and ideas. Like living in the past much Red Andy.

      1. Companies like Liberty don’t spend that kind of money; they leverage it. That’s why they got so peeved about the FIA warning against the $20 billion sale to the Saudi PIF. The FIA rightly noted that these incredible amounts of money will have to some way be extracted from the purchased property. In the best case scenario, that means a long term strategy to profit off increased revenue. In the worst, it means saddling the property with mountains of debt and writing it off.

        1. This common business practice always seems to me like cheating. The buyer just borrows a huge sum of money, buys a company and then passes on the massive debt they borrowed to buy it. Then the buyer can call all the shots on how exactly the poor company is going to repay the debt they now have.

          1. Pretty much most of what has been invented in the “financial industry” since the ‘80s is basically cheating.

      2. It will commercialise it and make itnanclown show like f1, at the cost of the sporting aspect

    3. I’m against sprints in MotoGP, but there’s no comparison here. MotoGP is much better suited for this, much, much better. I actually enjoy watching MotoGP sprints as much as the main event, and I don’t oppose them on the grounds of poor entertainment. F1 sprints are one giant snooze fest, to add salt to injury.
      I’d rather say, what’s next, Monaco sprint race? Because that’s the only way they could make things worse with F1 sprints..

  2. That’s amazing. No doubt in three to four years, Honda will announce they will leave the sport and sell their team to Indian motorcyle manufacturer Hero, as the new Patrick Symonds-approved 9 trillion valuation of their MotoGP team will be enough to pay off Japan’s national debt.

  3. Nice idea for them, easily each others biggest competition in terms of global motorsports. Let’s see if they can beat the red tape.

    1. Good for them, but what about us (people who actually follow that sport for years/decades)?

  4. It’s April Fools day isn’t it? Surely?

    1. I sure hope so.

    2. I’m genuinely confused here

  5. Monopolies are always bad. One sport may be ok [?], two is a no no.

    1. Yeah… monopolies are generally considered to be proven bad for both the fans and the sport.

      1. Liberty doesn’t need a monopoly for that.

  6. Oh dear. Over the next few years this will be a bad deal for both MotoGP and F1… Liberty are guaranteed to look at ways of bringing the two together to save money on expenditure while selling more tickets and TV time.
    It will be sold to both as a way to reach a wider audience, those who previously watched only cars or watched only bikes.

    They will try to blend them together as much as they can.

    What it will do is dilute both sports to the point neither feel unique any more.

    1. I’m not sure how you see the sports blending? But I don’t see any logical reason they would.

      1. Using some of the same tracks at the same weekend, same TV deals, same promotional techniques, same gimmicks to improve the show. Push to pass and all that nonsense that they’re now talking about with the next F1 power units.

        For example – I can see the MotoGP calendar becoming aligned with the F1 one, losing some epic tracks along the way so that there can be cost savings and cross promotion.

        1. I understand the concern but I don’t see why they’d need to do it.

          F1 already sells out many venues on its own. While Moto GP isn’t as popular it still has huge weekend attendances. 150-300k people throughout the year is hundreds of millions in ticket sales. I know track hosting fees are massive but I fail to see what they’ll gain by combining the events.

          Maybe a few events per year is a possibility at lower attended F1 events but I don’t think there’s that much scope for those.

        2. Or f1 could gain some tracks like maybe sepang? But I don’t think they’ll do that with already 24 races

          Reply moderated
    2. Combining the events would devalue both of them which is very much the opposite of what Liberty would be looking to achieve (maximising individual fees for each independently).

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    1st April 2024, 12:47

    Did Max sign with Ducati? This whole Horner saga is the gift that keeps on giving:-)

    1. Ahah, now that would be a shock, you’d get an announcement like piastri “I’m gonna be racing next year but not with red bull!”, and all speculation starts, mercedes, aston martin, mclaren, and then shock announcement that he’s moving series, not team!

    2. Probably more likely that he’ll move to Le Mans with Alonso rather than MotoGP.

      Reply moderated
  8. Just to point out that Liberty are not just buying Moto GP, they are buying Dorna Sports, which means they aquire ALL of the following:
    MotoGP,
    Moto2,
    Moto3,
    World Superbikes,
    MotoE,
    Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship

    1. Wow, massive deal, unfortunately this is a clear example about a company who’s in it for the money, they make money out of these deals, at the cost of the sport.

    2. Harsha Vardhan Maagalam
      1st April 2024, 15:47

      3bn sounds very unreasonable to me
      Ooh it’s April 1st

      1. I believe this could be a real news though, even with it being april first, the rumors have been circulating few days before and they’re all over the internet, many websites are reporting it.

      2. It’ll be worth much less once Liberty are done with it

        Reply moderated
  9. R.I.P. motoGP. It was nice while it lasted

  10. Absolutely terrible news.

  11. Moto GP fans in 2021- “Wow, I dont think I’ve ever seen such a race result stitch up in all my life, something like that would never occur in our sport”
    F1 fans in 2024- “Welcome to the Club, get ready to jump the Shark”

  12. Stephen wood
    1st April 2024, 17:38

    I hope a regulator blocks this, F1 is significantly less appealing with them holding the rights LM need to leave world motorsports the just suck all the more bey out of F1, this may be good for them but it’s not good for the sport and motor GP will suffer in the same way, I really wish Bernice hadn’t sold to liberty media even his flawed control was better than what LM have done and are doing.

  13. bring back Laguna.

    1. Laguna Seca? MotoGP raced at Laguna Seca? Wow, I must’ve missed that in the last 20 years of not watching MotoGP. I only saw Superbikes race there, which was awesome.

  14. Fair dinkum, am I the only one here who thinks (Sprint Race gimmicks aside) Liberty buying out CVC and Ecclestone has been the best thing for the sport (since Ecclestone)?

    Gimmicks were around long before Liberty (quali knockout anyone?), and will be around long after.

    Overall, Liberty have been a net positive—injecting a lot of cash improving all the platforms and fan access (for a wider range of budgets, not just focusing on those whom can afford a Rolex).

    Unsure how many fans here were actually watching back in the Bernie years and seem to have very rose-tinted (and fogged up) glasses of late-era Ecclestone F1.

    1. Back then it was all about the racing, now its all about the show.
      It wont be long before its 3 sprint races a weekend, first race normal, second race reverse grid of finishing order of race one, third race some sort of Fanvote/speed zone with a random grid ( picked by ‘influencer’ of the month/day ) with a ‘Tweet of the Day’ competition running on screen during the race…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.