Endeavor Sells UFC Ownership to Private Equity Firm, TKO Stays Publicly Traded

Endeavor, the talent agency that owns the UFC, is being acquired by private equity firm Silver Lake, which plans to take the company private after it went public three years ago.

Well, here’s the scoop. Endeavor, the talent agency that shelled out just over $4 billion for the UFC in 2016, is being bought out. And guess who’s buying? Silver Lake, a private equity firm. They’re taking Endeavor private again, after it went public three years back.

Now, let’s talk terms. Silver Lake, which already had a significant stake in Endeavor, is buying up all the outstanding shares. Current investors? They’re getting $27.50 per share, cold hard cash.

As of Tuesday, Endeavor’s shares were trading just shy of $26 each. But, guess what? The stock price jumped when news of the sale hit the streets.

Who’s the big shot at Silver Lake? That’d be Egon Durban, co-CEO of the company and current chairman of the board at Endeavor. Silver Lake has been pouring money into Endeavor for over a decade. They even backed Endeavor when it bought the UFC and WWE.

So, what’s Endeavor worth? Its equity value – that’s the company’s shares and loans that shareholders have made available – is $13 billion. But, hold on. That doesn’t include TKO Group Holdings, the merged company with the UFC and WWE. Endeavor still holds the majority of shares in TKO, and there’s no chatter about taking that company private.

Add Endeavor and TKO together, and you’re looking at a cool $25 billion.

Endeavor and TKO CEO Ari Emanuel had something to say about it all. In a press release, he said, “Since 2012, Endeavor’s strategic partnership with Silver Lake and Egon Durban have been central to our evolution into the global sports and entertainment leader we are today.” He’s stoked about the deal and thinks it’ll maximize value for all of Endeavor’s public stockholders.

When’s all this going down? The full transaction is set to close in the first quarter of 2025.

And what about the leadership at Endeavor? No changes expected there. Emanuel stays as CEO, with Patrick Whitesell as executive chairman and Mark Shapiro as president. Shapiro’s also president at TKO.

According to the initial statement about the sale, “TKO is not party to this transaction and will remain a publicly traded company that will continue to benefit from its connectivity to Endeavor’s expertise, relationships, and significant capabilities.”

Last October, Emanuel dropped a hint that Endeavor was considering “strategic alternatives,” which was a pretty clear nod to a possible sale to take the company private again. And here we are.


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