Endeavor Resumes Quest For IPO After 18-Month Break

Cut to Endeavor IPO, Part 2: The Reimagining.

Endeavor Group Holdings, owner of assets like talent agency WME, sports leagues the UFC, a production outfit and modeling firm IMG, has renewed its quest to go public. The IPO is planned for later this year.

In an SEC filing today, CEO Ari Emanuel made the case for the company’s resilience. “As challenging a year as 2020 was, it underscored the strength, creativity, and resilience of our people who mobilized time and time again in the face of overwhelming odds,” the letter said. “We made difficult decisions but worked as a team to find creative solutions and best position the business for the future.

Endeavor ditched its IPO at the last minute in the fall of 2019 when market conditions deteriorated and the company sensed it might not reach its fundraising goal.

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Along with Emanuel. executive chairman Patrick Whitesell and president Mark Shapiro are two key members of the management team.

The coronavirus pandemic, which wreaked havoc on the entertainment business, sports and other sectors in 2020, hit Endeavor hard, the company acknowledged. But it “delivered strong revenue growth prior to the impact of Covid-19,” the filing maintained.

In 2020, the company took in just shy of $3.5 billion in revenue, down from $4.6 billion in 2019. On a net basis, the 2020 bottom line showed a loss of $625.3 million but adjusted EBITDA reached $583.6 million, compared with $733.5 million in 2019.

The amount Endeavor intends to try to raise is not yet clear. The filing gives the figure of $100 million, but that’s a placeholder until the picture comes into focus. In 2019, the company entered the final days before its IPO hoping to raise up to $712 million, but when it encountered softness in pricing — and other offerings like Peloton wobbled — it opted to pull the plug. The filing was officially withdrawn on October 16, 2019.

Endeavor, which owns 50.1% of the UFC, said it intends to purchase the remaining stake in the mixed-martial-arts circuit.

If all goes according to plan, Endeavor will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “EDR.”

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