Endeavor Group Holdings, the agency, entertainment and sports giant, has put its waylaid plans to have an IPO back on track.
The parent of WME and IMG and owner of sports and entertainment assets like the UFC, pulled the plug on its IPO at the last minute in 2019. It has filed new documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission about its plans.
Deadline sister publication Sportico had the initial report on the renewed offering, citing two unidentified sources. An Endeavor rep declined to comment when contacted by Deadline.
Led by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, Endeavor was aiming to come to market in September 2019 with a valuation of about $6.5 billion. It had filed to sell 15 million shares at $27 each, which would have netted it at least $400 million, less than the $700 million it had targeted earlier in the year.
Citing the poor performance of newly public companies like Uber, Lyft and Peloton at the time, the company feared it would end up undervalued and hit the brakes. That was before Covid-19, which has hammered a range of businesses but has also seen stock markets rebound sharply to new record highs as many IPOs have performed well.
The timing of IPO 2.0 remains unclear, Sportico reported, as do details like the amount of shares to be offered and funds to be raised.
As the 2019 IPO plans were taking shape, one of the fiercest critics of the IPO was the Writers Guild of America, which was engaged in a battle with agencies over packaging. The term refers to both representing talent and producing content, a practice the guild derided as double-dipping. The guild peppered Endeavor with open letters decrying its plan to go public. In the larger fight, the WGA ultimately prevailed, securing a phase-out of packaging and other concessions and WME signed the guild-negotiated franchise agreement last month.
While it had to institute layoffs early on during Covid-19, Endeavor was bringing in north of $3 billion a year in revenue as of its 2019 prospectus. As sports and production have resumed, the business flow has returned even though there are restrictions. Just prior to the expected IPO in 2019, the company acquired On Location Experiences, an events firm started by the NFL. It has also operates IMG Arena, a supplier of data for the burgeoning sports betting business.
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