Endeavor Shares Rise in Market Debut | Sidnaz Blog

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Shares of

Endeavor Group Holdings Inc.


EDR 4.00%

rose 12.5% in their market debut, capping off a two-year effort by the entertainment firm to go public.

Endeavor’s stock began trading at $27, compared with its initial public offering price of $24. More recently, shares traded at $24.29, giving the company a valuation of $10.44 billion.

The company, known for representing Hollywood’s biggest talents such as Dwayne Johnson and Charlize Theron, also owns the giant sports and modeling agency IMG Worldwide Inc. and the Miss Universe pageant. In 2016, Endeavor bought part of Zuffa LLC, owner and operator of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“As far as where the world is going, we’re in every right sector right now,” Endeavor’s Chief Executive

Ari Emanuel

said in an interview Thursday. He said the company is well positioned to attract investors interested in stocks that stand to benefit from a global economy that is reopening.

Last month, the company said it was once again pursuing an IPO, after calling off a plan to go public in 2019. Endeavor publicly filed for an IPO in May 2019 but tabled those plans later in the year after WeWork’s parent company had a high-profile shelving of its offering, and

Peloton Interactive Inc.’s

debut fizzled.

As part of the March announcement, the company also said it was planning to take full ownership of UFC.

Endeavor also said at the time that

Elon Musk,

chief executive of

Tesla Inc.

and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, had been nominated to the company’s board.

Alongside the public offering, Endeavor has engaged in a separate private placement that includes a mix of high-profile investors such as Fidelity Management & Research Co., Dragoneer Investment Group LLC and Elliott Management Corp. That funding will go toward buying out the 49.9% it doesn’t already own of UFC.

UFC President Dana White before the public listing of Endeavor Group Holdings Inc. in New York on Thursday.



Photo:

shannon stapleton/Reuters

Mr. Emanuel said that securing the financing outside of the IPO took about six months, but doing so took some of the risks out of the IPO process. After their attempt at a public offering in 2019, he said: “We decided to take a big chunk of the variability of that process out.”

Endeavor expects $1.8 billion in proceeds from the offering and concurrent private placements.

The company, along with other major Hollywood agencies, has begun producing content because the entertainment industry looks much different than at the company’s founding in 1995, when the power wielded by agencies was more pronounced than now.

Endeavor’s biggest source of revenue now is its entertainment and sports division, which negotiates media-distribution deals on behalf of more than 150 clients, including the International Olympic Committee and the National Football League.

Endeavor’s shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EDR.

Endeavor diversified the scope of its business beyond traditional Hollywood deal-making as A-list stars’ salaries have contracted in recent years—reducing agency revenue. However, the decision to expand into sports, music and live events has hurt the company amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has entailed the cancellation or postponement of large public gatherings.

Write to Kimberly Chin at kimberly.chin@wsj.com and Maureen Farrell at maureen.farrell@wsj.com

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