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Liberty Media F1 MotoGP

Liberty Media Aims for F1 & MotoGP Synergy Amid Regulation

02/04/2024

In a strategic acquisition, Liberty Media confidently navigates regulatory landscapes to own both F1 and MotoGP, promising a vibrant future.

Indeed, anti-trust laws, particularly within the European Union, must be adhered to.

The company announced today its plan to spend approximately 4 billion euros to acquire the motorcycle racing championship. It previously purchased F1 from CVC Capital Partners, which had to sell MotoGP in 2006 to avoid breaching anti-trust rules.

However, Liberty Media’s CEO, Greg Maffei, expresses “great confidence in obtaining regulatory approvals” to finalize the MotoGP acquisition before year-end.

“We believe there’s a vast market for sports and entertainment properties, with Formula 1 and MotoGP representing just a small subset. The market has evolved since it was last thoroughly reviewed.”

He stated that Liberty Media has no intention of merging the two series, such as by offering joint deals to race promoters.

“We will not treat them as a single entity or attempt to bundle them in the market. They are two separate properties.”

Liberty Media believes it can increase MotoGP’s revenues similarly to F1’s.

“It’s about recognizing patterns and leveraging some of the lessons learned from F1 and opportunities to better showcase MotoGP, not leveraging F1 to boost MotoGP. We are very confident in the regulatory aspect.”

CVC already owned MotoGP when it acquired F1, but there’s a key difference in Liberty Media’s approach to the two series.

“I recall speaking to CVC’s management, they were under a tight deadline to finalize the F1 purchase. They didn’t have the time to engage in the regulatory process.”

“This was a private equity firm that had made a significant gain on one product and was about to purchase the other when it had a contract to execute.”

“We are in a very different position. As a group, we are fully aligned with a changing market. We aren’t subject to the same time constraints. We believe the regulatory process will proceed smoothly and quickly, but we will take the necessary time, and this deal will be concluded.”

The chief legal officer, Renee Wilm, believes today’s regulators will view the ownership of both championships differently.

“CVC’s decision, nearly 20 years ago, was never truly followed by an in-depth investigation or an appeal process. They opted to quickly divest one series and move on to the other.”

“I think considering we will engage very quickly in procedures with regulators, presenting all points Mr. Maffei has clearly made, and noting the change in the media landscape over the last 20 years, we are quite confident we can do this quickly and validate the transaction.”

Greg Maffei then assured that “the one thing we will not do is operate MotoGP and Formula 1 together, both for regulatory reasons and the structure of our agreement with F1 partners and teams.”

“MotoGP and F1 will remain separate.”

“I’d like to think we have an idea of how the media landscape is evolving and how to make the product attractive to partners beyond the traditional base of Italy, Spain, and France.”

“But as MotoGP is in a better position than F1 was when Liberty stepped in, there won’t be as much change.”

“The existing format, with the longest race being 45 minutes, is already perfect for a younger audience, Americans, both men and women. Once it finds some resonance, everyone will love this sport.”

Liberty Media F1 MotoGP. Liberty Media F1 MotoGP . 2024 Liberty Media F1 MotoGP

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