Bridgepoint takes chequered flag for Dorna

European buyout group Bridgepoint has won the auction for Dorna, a Spanish motorcycle sports business, despite bidding less than rival Advent International.

Bridgepoint, a European mid-market buyout firm, has beaten off competition from rival Advent International to buy CVC Capital Partners’ stake in Dorna, owner of exclusive rights to promote and manage MotoGP, the Motorcycle Road Racing World Championship.

The value of the transaction was not disclosed, but an adviser familiar with the deal said Bridgepoint had won with an offer lower than a €600m bid by Advent. He said the management of Dorna had a large say in who the replacement shareholder was and the cultural fit was as important as the price paid.

CVC paid an estimated £45 million, according to a report in UK paper The Times, for a 75 percent stake in the company in 1998. The remaining shares are held by Dorna’s management, led by Carmelo Ezpeleta, described as the Bernie Ecclestone of motorcycle racing. CVC was compelled by regulators to relinquish control of Dorna after buying Formula One this year.

As well as Bridgepoint and Advent, Permira, PAI, Apax Partners, and Lion Capital were all said to have made it through the first round of bidding.

Motorcycle racing is particularly popular in Spain and Italy, but audiences are growing in the Nordic countries, Latin America and Asia. Dorna holds the rights to run MotoGP, as the races are known, until at least 2026 and has an option to extend the rights beyond that time.