Saudi Arabia closing in on Endeavor investment deal

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is set to seal a deal to acquire a minority stake in Endeavor, the parent company of the WME talent agency and IMG, one of the most influential agencies in the sports industry, according to multiple reports.

The Bloomberg news agency, citing people with knowledge of the deal, said an agreement has been concluded and could be announced in the coming days.

The Public Investment Fund will reportedly buy into Endeavor on similar terms as Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which invested last August. The investment is said to be worth $400m (€324.3m) for a stake of up to seven per cent.

Bloomberg said one proposal under discussion would see Endeavor work with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority and General Entertainment Authority on projects that range from staging events to training athletes. In addition, Saudi Arabia will reportedly take a seat on Endeavor’s international advisory board.

Endeavor also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Professional Bull Riders series. News of preliminary talks with Saudi Arabia first emerged in January.

Earlier in January, Endeavor reached an agreement to acquire full-service branding and marketing firm 160over90. The move was designed to further strengthen Endeavor Global Marketing’s ability to deliver world-class marketing services for its clients. 

Endeavor Global Marketing acquired 160over90 from private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners. 160over90’s clients include Formula One motor-racing team Ferrari, NFL American football teams the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles, Texas A&M University, University of Virginia, UCLA and US sportswear company Under Armour.