Endeavor 'close to acquiring' Bruin's On Location Experiences
Endeavor, the combined Hollywood talent agency and sports and entertainment company previously known as WME-IMG, is reported to be close to acquiring On Location Experiences, the former NFL hospitality business whose owners include Bruin Sports Capital, the international media, sports, marketing and branded lifestyle investment company led by George Pyne, formerly a senior executive with IMG.
On Location generated about $600 million in revenue and $55 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in December. About 40 per cent of the profit is related to the NFL, with 40 per cent coming from other sports and 20 per cent from music and travel, the person said.
Other existing On Location shareholders include RedBird Capital and the Carlyle Group. Bruin and RedBird each own more than 30 per cent of the company, while the NFL has about 20 per cent, and Carlyle 10 per cent, Bloomberg reported. RedBird and Bruin acquired the business for about $70 million in April 2015, it added.
On Location’s clients include rights-holders such as the NFL, NCAA, PGA of America and US Tennis Association, along with events including the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, the Ryder Cup, the Rose Bowl Game, Daytona 500 and the US Open.
In December 2017 it acquired PrimeSport, the USA-based sports hospitality and ticketing agency, which it described as “a leader in providing direct access to some of the biggest events in sports and entertainment.”
NFL On Location was the first acquisition made by Bruin, which was launched at the turn of 2015 as WPP, the UK-based advertising giant, led a syndicate investing $250 million in the company, which was matched by private donors, providing Bruin with $500 million in buying power.
The group was founded by Pyne (pictured), the former president of IMG Worldwide Sports and Entertainment.
Pyne, the founder and chief executive of Bruin Sports Capital told Sportcal Insight earlier in 2017 that Bruin “brought capital and enhanced management” to On Location, after it acquired it in 2015.
He said: “It was underdeveloped. It’s now much broader than what we started with. At this year’s Super Bowl it put on live music events for 27,000 people, 9,000 people a night [artists included Taylor Swift]. It was the ticket event at Super Bowl everyone wanted to go to. It also hosted 14,000 people and provided hospitality for a Super Bowl party and it organised pre- and post-game parties for the Patriots and the Falcons.
“It also promoted a college football game in Dublin, Ireland and has a company, Kreate, that does work for Disney. When I look at On Location now, it does work for many other federations and offers a vast array of services that didn’t exist two years ago.”
Bruin acquisitions since then include: Deltatre, the international sports media services company; Soulsight, an award-winning strategic branding, design and creative agency; Engine Shop, the sports, entertainment and marketing agency; and T Burns Sports Group, the consultancy launched just weeks earlier by Terrence Burns, the Olympic bid and marketing strategist.
Endeavor is making plans to go public by the end of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year.
Endeavor has already filed, or is about to file, the paperwork for an initial public offering, the newspaper said, with the company valued at $6.3 billion, including debt, in August 2017, according to Bloomberg.
Many observers had expected Endeavor to go public at some point, having acquired IMG for $2.3 billion in 2013, and completed the $4-billion acquisition of mixed martial arts promoter UFC in 2016.
In 2017, WME-IMG created Endeavor as a new holding company, recalling the name of the Endeavor Talent Agency, which took over the much larger William Morris Agency in 2009 to form WME, before merging with IMG in 2013.
At the time, Endeavor said that its family includes: “WME, a leading global entertainment agency representing a powerful client roster across motion picture, television, sports, music, books, digital and theater; IMG, a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion; UFC, the world’s premier professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization; Droga5, Cannes Lions Independent Agency of the Year; Professional Bull Riders; The Miss Universe Organization; and Frieze, a leading arts and media company.
For the full interview with Pyne, click here.