Silver Lake, the US-based private equity firm, is working towards taking international entertainment and media giant Endeavor, which controls multiple top-tier sporting properties, private.
The investment firm issued a statement yesterday (October 25) saying it is “currently working toward making a proposal to take Endeavor private," soon after Endeavor itself announced a formal review that would “evaluate strategic alternatives for the company.”
Ari Emanuel, Endeavor’s chief executive, has stated: “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 maximizing value for our shareholders.”
In releasing its initial statement, Endeavor did say that while it was considering strategic options, there would be no sale – full or partial – of its majority interest in TKO Group Holdings, the publicly-listed company that has merged Endeavor’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotion. Endeavor holds a 51% controlling stake in that venture.
Aside from TKO, Endeavor owns the IMG talent representation and sports marketing agency behemoth, and the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit. In addition, it controls the WME Sports talent representation agency, which has many of golf's biggest stars among its clients.
Silver Lake, meanwhile, currently holds around 71% of the voting power in Endeavor and has said it is not interested in either selling its shares to a third party or in receiving bids for any part of Endeavor’s assets. The pair have been partners since 2012.
Egon Durban, co-chief executive of Silver Lake, is currently on the board of directors at Endeavor, as is the private equity firm’s managing partner Stephen Evans.
In terms of the strategic review, Endeavor has said there is no definitive timetable or deadline for the process, and that “there can be no assurance that this process will result in any particular outcome.”
Earlier this month, Emanuel confirmed that his company had submitted a bid to invest in US golf’s PGA Tour.
Silver Lake, meanwhile, holds stakes in the City Football Group soccer club ownership structure, sports merchandise firm Fanatics, and New Zealand Rugby.