The sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) could very well be finalized soon, according to reports from multiple outlets, including ESPN.com.
Two groups have reportedly made bids in the $4.1 billion range. One was a joint-bid by William Morris Endeavor Agency and The Dalian Wanda Group, while the other came from China Media Capital. Both offers for $4.1 billion would include complete, 100-percent control of the company.
UFC used investment bank Goldman Sachs to facilitate the bids, however the deal itself is not expected to be formally announced until after the landmark UFC 200 event on July 9th, even if things are completed as early as the next few days.
According to a report by FloCombat.com, the largest bid is expected to come from the William Morris Endeavor Agency, which represents a number of artists from a wide variety of different entertainment platforms, as well as The Dalian Wanda Group, which is a Chinese company that is also the world’s largest cinema chain operator.
The WME-IMG and Dalian Wanda bid is also believed to include TenCent Holdings, another China-based company that is also one of the largest internet companies on the planet.
The aforementioned ESPN report is also noting that WME co-chairman Ari Emanuel has been requesting that investors contribute $25 million to $50 million a piece. The Kraft Group, which is best known for owning the NFL’s New England Patriots, is apparently one of the willing investors from that perspective.
It’s worth noting that the deal that is being negotiated would be a complete sale, which would mean the current owners, Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta III, Dana White and the Abu Dhabi-based Flash Entertainment, as well as all minor parties, would completely relinquish ownership of the UFC. However, the aforementioned FloCombat article claims that some of the top bidders are actually interested in keeping White around in a similar role to that which he has now, which is UFC President, and are even willing to offer some of their ownership shares to entice him to continue working with the company.
Additionally, it’s said that the general day-to-day operations of the UFC would stay relatively the same if the complete sale does go through, particularly in terms of public perception as far as what fans are familiar with. Apparently key members of various departments within the current organization, such as matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby, would be enticed to stay and remain in similar roles with the company under the new owners.
H/T to Sherdog.com