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Endeavor goes private once again with Silver Lake acquisition deal

US media giant Endeavor is going private once again after agreeing to be acquired by tech investment firm Silver Lake.

Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel

Through the transaction, Silver Lake, which already held around 71% of the voting power of the company, will acquire the remaining shares it doesn’t already own.

The transaction values Endeavor at US$13bn and, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2025. After completion of the deal, Endeavor will not be listed on any public markets.

The deal does not include UFC and WWE parent company TKO Group, which officially launched last year after Endeavor spun the companies off into a new publicly traded entity. TKO Group will remain public.

Endeavor and Silver Lake said that when consolidating Endeavor and TKO’s value, the combined enterprise is worth around US$25bn. That, according to the companies, makes this the “largest private equity sponsor public-to-private investment transaction in over a decade, and the largest ever in the media and entertainment sector.”

The decision does not come as a surprise, with Endeavor having announced in October that it was reviewing “strategic alternatives,” including going private once more.

Over the past 12 years, Silver Lake has made several major investments in Endeavor that have enabled it to grow. In 2012, Silver Lake made an initial investment in William Morris Endeavor, in addition to providing financial backing to its deals to buy IMG in 2014, the UFC in 2016 and its merger of UFC and WWE in 2023.

Confirmation that Endeavor will go private again comes just shy of three years since the media firm first began trading on the public markets.

“Since 2012, Endeavor’s strategic partnership with Silver Lake and [its co-CEO and managing partner] Egon Durban have been central to our evolution into the global sports and entertainment leader we are today,” said Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel.

“We believe this transaction will maximise value for all of Endeavor’s public stockholders and are excited to continue to unlock and invest in the growth opportunities ahead as a private company.”

Durban, who is also chairman of the Endeavor board, added: “Our unwavering belief in Ari and [exec chairman] Patrick Whitesell, together with [president and chief operating officer] Mark Shapiro and other talented leaders at Endeavor, has never been stronger. This is a very special partnership.

“Together, we have built and grown Endeavor from US$350m in annual revenue when we first invested in 2012 to nearly US$6bnin consolidated revenue today. Now, Endeavor can take advantage of its unique core platform to meet the dynamic forces driving growth in content, sports and live events with bold vision. Consistent with our mission and underscored by this commitment being among the largest in Silver Lake’s history, we are all in on working with the Endeavor team and our trusted anchor investors to create value by accelerating growth at scale.”

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