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eSports - 19 Mar 2021
Endeavor, the former Hollywood talent agency that has developed into a global entertainment, sport and content company, has once more begun preparations for an initial public offering.
Endeavor, which acquired international sports and entertainment company IMG in 2013, and which also owns mixed martial arts promotion UFC, has filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company’s IPO was first scheduled to launch in late 2019, only for the listing to be shelved indefinitely in September of that year, amid unfavourable market conditions. The company had concerns about being undervalued at the IPO, after seeing other newly-public firms struggle.
As yet, no firm dates and details for the 2021 IPO have been disclosed.
The 2019 version would have seen Endeavor filing to raise a minimum of $500 million, after being valued at close to $6.5 billion at that point.
After postponing the 2019 IPO, Endeavor then completed the acquisition of On Location Experiences, the premium hospitality business, in January 2020.
Endeavor had been targeting that firm, which has been the official hospitality partner of the NFL and offers luxury travel, accommodation and experiences such as on-field and post-game access for events including the Super Bowl, NCAA college sports showpieces, golf’s Masters and Ryder Cup and tennis’ US Open, for the best part of a year.
Endeavor had to secure a $260 million term loan as a cushion against the coronavirus pandemic in May last year, while also selling its stake in US-based video game developer Epic Games that month.
Meanwhile, a collaboration between Sony Interactive Entertainment, the video game division of the Sony Corporation, and RTS, an esports venture launched by Endeavor, has led to the acquisition of the Evolution Championship Series, a fighting game-based annual esports event.
The series, commonly known as Evo, will be operated by a recently-created joint venture between SIE and RTS, while the event’s creators, Tony and Tom Cannon, will continue to be involved as key advisors.
The event was previously owned by Triple Perfect.
Steven Roberts, vice-president of global competitive gaming at SIE, said: “This joint acquisition with RTS marks a new chapter of collaboration with Evo’s co-founders, and their passionate community of fighting game fans.”
Tony Cannon added: “Both companies bring a wealth of experience and share our passion for what makes the fighting game community so great. We are looking forward to working with them to launch Evo to the next level.”
RTS, led by Stuart Saw, former senior vice-president of esports at Endeavor, is a newly-launched venture, with “expertise spanning esports event management, brand and developer consulting, and gaming talent management”, Endeavor has said.
This year, Evo will take place entirely online, between 6 and 15 August.