It sounds like the sale of the UFC is marching ahead successfully. FloCombat reports that sources close to the company are saying that a group of investors have put together a $4.2 billion bid for the MMA organization and that Zuffa has accepted it.
This potential new ownership group apparently consists of WME-IMG, the Dailan Wanda Group, The Kraft Group, and Tencent Holdings. Alongside this news are reports that, despite selling his shares as part of the deal, President of Operations Dana White would be staying on in his role with the promotion, apparently receiving a new stake in the company as well.
We’ll be sure to bring you more coverage as the story unfolds, as this could be a massive shakeup for the promotion going forward.
Early Monday morning, the UFC is expected to announce its sale for a price tag of $4 billion.
Late Sunday evening, Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS-TV reported the paperwork for the sale was signed on Saturday to an ownership group consisting of talent agency William Morris Endeavor, International Management Group, and private equity group MSD. Global investment firm KKR is also involved in the sale, according to the report.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta is reportedly expected to step down as chairman following a transitional period, after which he and his brother, Frank Fertitta, will remain on as minority owners. Dana White is expected stay on as president and will also hold a minority stake, according to the report.
Rumors of a sale began strongly in May when reports of a deal being in the late stages began to circulate. Then three weeks ago FloCombat began reporting the sale to WME-IMG. White responded to these reports in a company memo to his employees denying the sale, and threatening to take legal action against the reporters.
News of the sale comes just 24 hours after UFC 200, an event which took place at the brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV and was heralded by many within the company as a historic evening.
The Ferttita brothers purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001. A $4 billion price tag would stand as the largest franchise sale in sports history.
That's a helluva gain on the initial investment. Obviously spent more than just that first $2 million, but they should make out pretty damn well on this deal unless there's some huge money pit we don't know about.
Hope this doesn't lead to Fight Pass and PPV prices getting screwed with.