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F1 owners Liberty Media ‘close’ to buying new sport for £3.4bn but deal faces obstacle

Formula One owners Liberty Media are reportedly on the verge of completing an eye-watering £3.4billion deal to purchase MotoGP. Experts believe the acquisition, which would unite the elite car and motorcycle racing series’, is set to face scrutiny from competition regulators.

F1 and MotoGP were previously owned by the same company, CVC Capital Partners, but they were forced to sell the motorcycle series in 2006 due to concerns raised by EU competition authorities. The same company sold F1 to Liberty 11 years later.

On the deal currently in the works, competition lawyer James Killick told FT: “I’d be very surprised if competition regulators didn’t look at it. The question is, has the market changed?”

Nevertheless, Liberty’s proposed takeover of Dorna Sports is ‘close’ to being agreed, with an announcement expected next week. Sports and entertainment group TKO, as well as Qatar Sports Investments, are also believed to have expressed an interest in purchasing MotoGP.

The move will give Liberty chief executive Greg Maffei the opportunity to sink his teeth into other ventures, too, as the Superbike World Championship and MotoE are also promoted by Dorna Sports.

Liberty have boosted the popularity of F1 through avenues such as the widely-watched Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’, as well as organising new Grands Prix in the USA and the East. They could aMiddle im to follow a similar recipe with MotoGP.

“From my side, I’ve said it before – this is not sustainable,” said the Dutchman. “I love racing a lot and I do it a lot also outside of Formula One.

“But, if people in the sport start shortening their careers because it’s too much I think that’s a shame and so hopefully we can have a look at that for the future.”

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