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Endeavor forced to withdraw IPO, leaving UFC owners with ‘damaged reputation’

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Sound familiar?

MMA: UFC 213-Romero vs Whittaker Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), was hoping to raise over $600 million during its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday, with stock prices landing somewhere in the range of $30-32 per share.

Instead, they’ll raise the white flag.

That’s because demand for the stock has been “lower than anticipated,” according to Deadline, which Endeavor tried to counter by dropping its IPO to $26-27 per share. That equates to a $200 million hit for owner Ari Emanuel which in the end, still wasn’t enough.

“This is a blow for Ari. It’s definitely damaged his reputation,” Los Angeles investment banker Lloyd Greif told L.A. Times. “It will be interesting to see what happens next. They are going to have to figure out how to access the capital markets.”

Endeavor has not abandoned its plans to go public, but cited “market conditions” as the culprit behind Thursday’s hasty exit. No doubt the disastrous debut for Peloton Interactive Inc., which dropped 11 percent in its first day, had Emanuel second-guessing his big debut.

For the time being, Endeavor — which purchased UFC for $4 billion back in 2017 — will have to develop a new strategy for paying down its bloated debt. Perhaps it’s time to put the combat sports powerhouse back on the market and finish $3 billion in the black?