Moto GP, Losail International Circuit, 2024

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

Formula 1

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Liberty Media are confident their bid to own both Formula 1 and Moto GP will not be blocked by regulators.

The company announced today it will spend £3 billion to acquire the motorcycling world championship. It purchased F1 from CVC Capital Partners, which had to sell Moto GP in 2006 to avoid falling foul of antitrust rules.

However Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei says he is “very confident we will get this through regulators” and complete the purchase of Moto GP before the end of the year.

“We believe there is a broad market for sports and entertainment properties of which both Formula 1 and Moto GP are only a small subset,” he told investors in a call today. “The market has continued to change from the time when this was previously reviewed in a major way.”

Start, Hungaroring, 2017
Liberty Media bought F1 seven years ago
He said Liberty Media did not intend to merge the two series in any way, such as by offering joint deals on rounds of both series to race promoters.

“We are going to not treat these as a bundle or try and bring them together in the market. These are both separate properties.”

Liberty Media believes it can increase Moto GP’s revenues in the same way it has F1’s. “The things we bring to the table here are not in any way leveraging the two,” he said. “It’s pattern recognition and leveraging some of the learnings we’ve had from F1 and some of the opportunity we see to expose Moto GP, not in any way to leverage the two. So I think we’re very confident in the regulatory side.”

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He pointed out CVC already owned Moto GP when it took over F1, a key difference to Liberty Media’s approach to the two series.

“I remember speaking to the CVC management, they were under a tight timeframe to get a deal done on buying F1,” he said. “They did not have the time to go and work through the regulatory process.

“They were a [private equity] firm which had a big gain in one product and they were moving on to buy the other one when they had a contract they had to execute on,” he said.

“We’re in a very different position. We are absolutely aligned as a group into a changed market. We’re not under at the same sort of time pressures. We believe that the regulatory process will move smoothly and quickly, but we will take the time they need and this deal will get done.”

Chief legal officer Renee Wilm believes today’s regulators will take a different view of whether one organisation should own both championships.

“The CVC decision, which is almost 20 years old, was never really followed up on in terms of any kind of an in-depth investigation or appeal process,” she said. “They chose to just quickly close and move on.

“I think when you factor in that we are going to engage very quickly with the regulators, making all the points that Greg just very clearly articulated, and also just noting the change in media landscape over the last 20 years, we’re pretty confident we can get this done quickly and get the transaction cleared.”

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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...

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16 comments on “Liberty “very confident” regulators won’t block bid to own both F1 and Moto GP”

  1. Yellow Baron
    1st April 2024, 19:31

    Are monopolys ever a good thing in the long term?

    Would be interesting to know more about liberties background

    1. The question isn’t really about whether monopolies are good or bad long term (they often fall apart naturally), it’s more about the regulatory intervention and unforeseen consequences. When the EU intervened with regard to F1 and the FIA they basically created a monster that now absolutely dominates the motorsport landscape. Had the FIA managed to keep hold of F1 maybe it wouldn’t have turned into this all conquering beast that now puts F1, more than ever, firmly at the top of the pyramid. In trying to stop a monopoly, they have appeared to create a dominating presence within motorsport.

      If the EU decide to intervene again, they could be robbing MotoGP of an opportunity to grow and expand within Liberty who have the resources.

      It’s up to other motorsport entities to step up if they want to compete with Liberty and their motorsport offerings. So far many have fallen short, mainly because they fail to understand what ‘compelling’ motorsport is. Hint: Close racing isn’t it.

      1. I think this is a very unpopular take, that close racing isn’t compelling motorsport, most of us here would love to have that in f1.

      2. Yellow Baron
        2nd April 2024, 10:35

        What’s compelling Motorsport if it’s not close?

  2. I absolutely hope regulators will block it. The Americans completely ruined F1 and they are about to ruin another great European sport. Say goodbye to European tracks, to pitgirls, to acceptable time schedules. And say welcome to more tracks in the Middle East and USA, ridiculous formats, wokeism and an overall awful commercialisation of the sport.

    1. What this guy’s said. 100%

  3. Of course they’re confident.

    They’ve surveyed the regulators and the fans and all are fully supportive of them purchasing it. Never been in doubt.

    1. The fans are fully supportive? I’ve not seen a single positive comment about Liberty buying MotoGP. Unless you mean the Libery Media fans but I doubt you’ll find much of them lol.

      1. Yellow Baron
        2nd April 2024, 10:36

        Younger fans on Reddit think it’s good

        1. Sounds like the they’ve been brainwashed into DRS passes, the art of managing tyres and complete and utter dominance by a drinks company.

  4. very confident we will get this through regulators

    Certainly, judging by the Qatargate EU corruption scandal, I would say that it suffices that the money bags are eco-friendly and recyclable.

  5. A sad day for MotoGP.

  6. I had assumed that this was an April Fools joke.

    1. Liberty itself is a joke

  7. Ride to survive.

  8. Hope we get to see more collabs like with Hamilton and Rossi -That’s one good thing that this could bring

Comments are closed.