Silver Lake aims to take sports industry giant Endeavor private
Silver Lake, the US-based private equity firm, is actively pursuing the goal of making global entertainment and media conglomerate Endeavor – which commands a portfolio of top-tier sports properties – a private entity.
The investment firm issued a statement on October 25, declaring its intent to “make a proposal to take Endeavor private”. This announcement followed Endeavor’s own declaration of a formal review aimed at “evaluating strategic alternatives for the company”.
Ari Emanuel, Chief Executive of Endeavor, expressed the rationale behind this move.
“Given the continued dislocation between Endeavor’s public market value and the intrinsic value of Endeavor’s underlying assets, we believe an evaluation of strategic alternatives is a prudent approach to ensure we are maximising value for our shareholders,” Emanuel said.
While considering strategic options, Endeavor clarified that there would be no sale, either full or partial, of its majority interest in TKO Group Holdings, the publicly-listed company resulting from the merger of Endeavor’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotion. Endeavour holds a controlling 51 percent stake in this venture.
Beyond its involvement with TKO, Endeavor boasts ownership of the IMG talent representation and sports marketing agency, a behemoth in the industry, as well as the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit. Additionally, the company controls the WME Sports talent representation agency, which represents numerous top golf stars.
Silver Lake currently wields approximately 71 percent of the voting power in Endeavor and has affirmed its lack of interest in selling its shares to a third party or accepting bids for any portion of Endeavor’s assets. The partnership between Silver Lake and Endeavor has been in place since 2012.
Egon Durban, Co-Chief Executive of Silver Lake, serves on the board of directors at Endeavor, while the private equity firm’s Managing Partner, Stephen Evans, also holds a position on the board.
Regarding the strategic review process, Endeavor clarified that there is no set timetable or deadline, and there is no guarantee of a specific outcome from this initiative.
Ari Emanuel confirmed that Endeavor had submitted a bid to invest in the PGA Tour, the professional golf organisation in the United States.
Silver Lake maintains stakes in the City Football Group, the ownership structure of various soccer clubs, sports merchandise company Fanatics and New Zealand Rugby.