Hollywood talent agency-owner Endeavor raised $1.9bn through its public listing and a simultaneous private placement of its shares on Wednesday, valuing the company at just over $10bn and cementing the wealth of its founder Ari Emanuel.

It sold shares at $24 apiece, at the top of the range it set earlier this month.

Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, Endeavor’s executive chair, together with other executives, will own a pot of 37.7m of Endeavor’s 429.7m shares, a stake worth more than $900m at the IPO price.

Emanuel founded Endeavor in 1995 as a talent agency and the company has expanded and diversified through a number of acquisitions, buying rival William Morris Agency and sports agency IMG and adding the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Miss Universe beauty pageant to its portfolio.

Endeavor raised $511m from stock market investors in the IPO and another $1.4bn through a simultaneous private placement of its shares. Investors in the private placement include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala and Elliott Investment Management.

KKR, which bought a slice of UFC in 2016, also raised roughly $437m through a sale of its Endeavor stake through the concurrent private placement.

Endeavor was hit hard by the pandemic last year, after live events were halted and movie and television productions were shut down. Losses widened in 2020 to $625m on $3.5bn in revenue.

UFC, the mixed martial arts franchise that Endeavor bought in 2016 in partnership with private equity groups, has been a more reliable part of the group’s business. Although UFC was also affected by the cancellation of events, the company is relatively stable thanks to a long-term licensing deal with Disney, netting it $300m a year to air UFC events on ESPN and its streaming service.

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Endeavor plans to use some of the IPO proceeds to buy the remaining 49.9 per cent of UFC that it does not already own.

It previously attempted to float in 2019, when it sought to raise as much as $712m at an $8bn valuation, before shelving the plan because of limited investor appetite.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank advised on the 2021 offering.



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