The deal could be announced in the coming days, ahead of the third round of the 2024 MotoGP season at the Americas Grand Prix on 12-14 April. understands that executives from Liberty and Dorna Sports, the promoter of the MotoGP, WorldSBK and MotoE World Championships, finalized the deal weeks ago.

In fact, the intention of both parties was to make it official before the first grand prix of the year in Qatar.

At that time, however, concerns about the intervention of the European Commission body that regulates the competition market froze the move.

While one side advocated moving forward, the other preferred to wait for developments.

The Financial Times reported on Wednesday afternoon that the takeover can be considered a done deal, although the business daily also pointed out that it would be very strange if those responsible for applying competitions law did not analyze the case.

In this regard, it is worth noting that CVC Capital Partners, a Luxembourg-based investment fund, owned both F1 and MotoGP in the past, but was forced to divest one in 2006 by European antitrust authorities – with MotoGP being sold.

While Liberty has always been the preferred bid of Dorna executives, there have also been moves in recent times by Qatar Sports Investments, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and TKO, the media and entertainment conglomerate that, among other things, owns the rights to the UFC Championship.

In the last year, the sale of Dorna became one of the priorities of Bridgepoint and the Canadian pension fund (CPPIB).

Bridgepoint, which became a shareholder in 2006 – it bought its shares from CVC – owns about 40% of the shares, while CPPIB manages 38%.

Enea Bastianini, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Both firms are structured around Global Racing LX2, a Luxembourg company. The rest (22%) is shared between Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO, who has been in charge of operations since 1992, and a small group of managers.

In 2022, Dorna Sports generated a turnover of €474.8 million, an increase of 33% over the previous year, although the year ended with a loss of €7.8m, as a result of the impact of the pandemic.

At the beginning of 2022, the Madrid-based company refinanced €975m of debt, a resource that allowed it to strengthen its liquidity, and also to distribute dividends worth €390m to its shareholders.

The change of model that Liberty applied to Formula 1 after finalizing its acquisition in 2016 has led the series to skyrocket its level of popularity to levels never seen before.

The momentum of Drive to Survive, the Netflix documentary series that coincided in time with the pandemic, globalized a sporting competition that until then was still considered a niche.

At the same time, the continued expansion of the race calendar – which stands at 24 in 2024 – has caused profits to soar. With the success of its entry into F1, Liberty now wants to replicate that success with MotoGP.

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