Endeavor Group — which owns talent powerhouse WME and MMA league UFC — filed to go public on Wednesday.
As reported by Variety, this was not your run-of-the mill listing exercise:
- 2nd go-around: Endeavor filed to go public in 2019, but investor demand was weak. The company is now going back to the markets after posting a loss of $625m on revenue of $3.5B in 2020 (~$1B less than 2019 due to the pandemic’s effect on entertainment).
- Taking over the UFC: As part of its prospective IPO, Endeavor will take 100% controlling interest in the UFC (it already owns 50.1%).
- Adding an interesting board member: Endeavor nominated Tesla CEO Elon Musk to its 11-person board of directors.
Per Variety, Endeavor’s investor pitch is that its media expertise will help its roster of top-tier celebrity clients “make the most of opportunities in an increasingly direct-to-consumer world.”
The Elon connection is quite interesting:
- Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel is the subject for the character Ari Gold in the popular HBO show “Entourage.” He is also a longtime Musk supporter and one of the first Tesla buyers.
- Emanuel’s brother is former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who awarded Musk a contract in 2018 for his tunnel company, The Boring Company.
Despite these connections, the announcement still raised eyebrows.
Per CNBC, Endeavor investors had to issue a statement clarifying that the story wasn’t an April Fools’ prank.