Media and talent giant Endeavor Group is going public… with an interesting board addition

The owner of talent agency WME and MMA sports league UFC is trying to go public for a second time...and it’s bringing Elon along for the ride.

April 2, 2021

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. 🤷

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