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Liberty Global Acquires Controlling Stake in Formula E from Warner Bros. Discovery


Liberty Global is acquiring a controlling stake in Formula E from Warner Bros. Discovery, enhancing its presence in the all-electric motorsport arena. The publicly traded company, led by billionaire John Malone, announced on Thursday its plans to purchase WBD’s 25% equity in Formula E, which is currently in its 10th season. This acquisition will increase Liberty Global's ownership to 65%. The purchase price remains undisclosed.


In 2021, WBD valued its 25% stake in Formula E at $65 million, reflecting its initial investment rather than the current fair value. A 2023 regulatory filing by Formula E Operations reported revenue of €181.5 million and a net loss of €15.3 million for the fiscal year ending September 2022, equating to approximately $202 million and $17 million, respectively.


With this acquisition, John Malone’s Liberty entities will control both Formula 1 and Formula E. Liberty Media, a separate publicly traded company, already owns Formula 1. Malone, who founded Liberty, controls about 31% of Liberty Global and the majority of Liberty Media, though an agreement restricts his voting power in Liberty Media to just under 50%.


Other stakeholders in Formula E include CMC Capital with 10%, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund PIF with 5%, and additional undisclosed stakes held by SECA Shanghai Sports and Driven Lifestyle Group. Additionally, one of the Formula E teams is owned by the CEO of Penske Media Corporation, which publishes Sportico.


Despite WBD's exit from Formula E ownership, it maintains a broadcast relationship with the league, having signed a 10-year agreement in January to air races on its European networks. The acquisition is expected to receive regulatory approval by the end of the year.

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