IMG and UFC parent Endeavor files for IPO

Endeavor Group Holdings, the parent company of the IMG agency and mixed martial arts promotion the UFC, has filed for an initial public offering in a move that had long been mooted by the sports industry.

Endeavor filed the paperwork on May 23 to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The offering is being led by investment banks Goldman Sachs, KKR & Co, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.

An IPO has been suggested in the industry since entertainment talent agency WME acquired IMG in 2014, creating WME|IMG, now Endeavor.

Since then, IMG has been more aggressive in acquiring media rights and it is thought it has looked to diversify its portfolio ahead of the IPO. Endeavor also acquired the UFC in 2016 giving itself ownership of a property, reducing its reliance on trading short-term rights.

Earlier this week, IMG announced a three-season extension to its contract with the English Premier League which will see the agency continue to work with the league to operate Premier League Productions until 2021-22.

As well as holding international rights to high-profile properties such as Italy’s Serie A and the English FA Cup (outside of the UK, Western Europe and the Middle East and North Africa), IMG has a 10-season joint venture with basketball’s Euroleague.

Endeavor’s filing to the SEC showed that the company reported a revenue of $3.6bn and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of $551m in 2018.