CPP Investments to realize $1.9 billion from sports firm stake sale

The pension plan's investment board will gain cash and a tracking stock holding

CPP Investments to realize $1.9 billion from sports firm stake sale
Steve Randall

The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board has agreed to sell its entire stake in the firm that holds the rights to the two preeminent global motorcycling events.

CPP Investments will sell its holding in Dorna Sports to Liberty Media alongside UK headquartered asset management firm Bridgepoint for approximately C$1.9 billion (75% cash and 25% in Series C Liberty Formula One tracking stock). The holding is via the Canadian pension plan’s wholly owned CPP Investment Board Europe Sarl.

Dorna holds the global rights to MotoGP and WSBK Championships (aka World Superbikes) and CPP invested in 2013, since which the firm has expanded the scale, scope, and fanbase of motorcycle racing globally.

Hafiz Lalani, managing director and global head of Direct Private Equity at CPP Investments, says the investment and its partnerships have been positive for the pension plan.

“Our partnership with the Dorna management team and Bridgepoint over more than a decade has delivered excellent returns for the CPP fund," he said. "As a coordinated ownership group, we have supported and focused the growth of the business globally, as well as helped steward it through a challenging period of time during the global pandemic. We are confident the business will now further benefit from the new ownership of Liberty Media."

The direct private equity strategy of CPP Investments is focused on assets and sub-sectors where it maintains competitive advantages including a strong track record, superior insights, and strategic partnerships to deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns. Its total private equity assets at March 31, 2023 were C$146.0bn, 26% of total assets.

CPP Investments recently announced its plan to expand its portfolio in Italy's digital infrastructure, having agreed to secure a 17.5% stake in NetCo for up to $2.9 billion.

The Dorna transaction is expected to close by the end of 2024 subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals.