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UFC ‘launches $465m leveraged loan’

The UFC mixed martial arts promotion has reportedly launched a new leveraged loan worth $465m (€423m) on the back of its recent rights agreement with sports broadcaster ESPN.

In March, UFC signed a new deal with the broadcaster which places its pay-per-view events exclusively on the ESPN+ streaming service in the US until 2025. The deal built on a previous five-year agreement that had been due to run from 2019 to 2023 and was worth a reported $150m per year.

The Reuters news agency, citing sources familiar with the matter, has now reported that UFC has launched the new leveraged loan as it begins to benefit from the ESPN tie-up. It is reported that the increased cash flow secured by the agreement has made the series more attractive to prospective investors.

The loan would be added to an existing $1.875bn term loan B, which Reuters noted matures in 2026. The report added that this loan was trading over par in the US secondary market last month, prompting UFC to launch the new loan, which will be led by Goldman Sachs.

UFC was bought for $4bn by the Endeavor agency, formerly WME-IMG, back in July 2016.

Earlier this year, Endeavor announced plans for an initial public offering, which Reuters said is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs, KKR, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.

UFC media sales helped Endeavor to report $187.6m in first-half adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) at its Entertainment and Sports segment, as reported by SportBusiness last month.