Silver Lake To Take WME Parent Endeavor Private In $13B Deal

In this photo illustration, an Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc
Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Private equity firm Silver Lake is taking WME parent Endeavor private in a $13 billion buyout.

Silver Lake will buy Endeavor’s outstanding shares at $27.50, a 55 percent premium over the share price the day before Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel announced the company was exploring “strategic alternatives,” largely considered then to be a signal Silver Lake would take over the company.

In addition to WME, Endeavor also owns licensing company IMG, marketing firm 160/90 and more.

In a statement announcing the move, Silver Lake believes that when consolidating all of TKO’s value into Endeavor, the combined total enterprise value of $25 billion will make this the largest private equity sponsor public-to-private investment transaction in over a decade, and the largest ever in the media and entertainment sector. On the unaffected date, the equity value was $8.2 billion, and the premium to be paid by Silver Lake represents $4.6 billion more equity value to all Endeavor stockholders.

Trading was halted on the news and Endeavor’s stock will be delisted once the buyout is complete. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and standard closing conditions. It’s expected to be complete the close of Q1 2025.

TKO, which formed in April 2023 after Wrestlemania as a merger of UFC and WWE and which went public in September, is not party to this transaction and will remain a publicly traded company. Endeavor — and now by extension Silver Lake — is the majority owner of TKO.

“Since 2012, Endeavor’s strategic partnership with Silver Lake and Egon Durban have been central to our evolution into the global sports and entertainment leader we are today. We believe this transaction will maximize value for all of Endeavor’s public stockholders and are excited to continue to unlock and invest in the growth opportunities ahead as a private company,” Emanuel said.

 “The team at Silver Lake is proud of our longstanding partnership with Endeavor, marked by more than $3.5 billion of direct investment across six distinct transactions over 12 years,” Stephen Evans, Managing Director of Silver Lake and a Director of Endeavor, said. “We are excited about what we can achieve together in this next phase, spearheaded by Endeavor’s visionary expertise across talent representation and content and ownership of truly special, marquee assets in sports.”

Silver Lake initially invested in William Morris Endeavor in 2012 and continued through Endeavor’s subsequent acquisition of IMG in 2014 and its 2021 initial public offering. Silver Lake also supported Endeavor’s acquisition of UFC in 2016 and the merger of UFC and WWE.

This is a developing story.