Endeavor puts IPO on back burner

Global sports and entertainment company Endeavor has delayed plans for an initial public offering (IPO) as it reportedly seeks to increase market valuation.

Endeavor, the parent company of the WME talent agency and IMG, one of the most influential agencies in the sports industry, had been expected to launch its IPO in the summer, having made a filing in May.

News of the delay in the launch was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, with the Variety website confirming that it is now not expected until September at the earliest.

Variety added that Endeavor, which also owns mixed martial arts promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), is seeking to complete a takeover of On Location Experiences, the premium hospitality company part-owned by American football league the NFL, and highlight its second-quarter results and renegotiated deals for football events before proceeding with the IPO.

It added that the Writers Guild of America West has issued a pair of investor alerts on the IPO and accused Endeavor of widespread potential conflicts of interest. The corporate governance structure of a public Endeavor will reportedly significantly favour senior executives such as co-chief executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell.

The investor alert is also said to have warned of Endeavor’s structure including “poison pills” designed to give company insiders control on an indefinite basis.