F1 owner to take over MotoGP for unprecedented billion-dollar sum

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MotoGP is poised to be bought by F1 owners Liberty Media for $4 billion.

The American company took over Formula 1 in January 2017 from the former supremo of the sport, Bernie Ecclestone, for $4.6bn.

Seven years later, Liberty Media is now set to add MotoGP to its portfolio, according to The Financial Times, with the series hoping its growth will match that of F1. It is estimated motorsport’s blue-riband class is now worth $17bn.

It is understood the deal for MotoGP includes Superbikes since it is also owned by Dorna. It is more than likely Liberty Media will take over all of Dorna’s racing classes in a mega deal on the brink of being officially confirmed.

There is one important caveat, however, that may yet pose a problem as the deal still requires ratification from the European Union.

Private equity group CVC also previously owned both MotoGP and Formula 1, but was forced by the EU to part with the former. Under European rules in 2006, it has not been possible to own both categories.

The question now is whether there has been a significant shift in the market since 2006 and whether the EU has altered its position.

At the time, it was felt that F1 and MotoGP were the two biggest motorsport events in Europe and, according to the EU, there was a risk that TV commercial rights deals would rise unnecessarily and customers would have to pay the price.

Since 2017, under Liberty Media’s ownership, F1 has seen revenues rise from around $1.7bn to approximately $3.2bn by 2023. For that reason, MotoGP will undoubtedly be looking forward to the arrival of the Americans.

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