UFC sold, announcement Monday

July 10, 2016

Chris Maathuis of KLAS-TV News, a CBS Las Vegas affiliate is reporting that Zuffa has officially sold the UFC to WME-IMG Capital.  The official confirmation will come on Monday morning although Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White sat down for interviews with the local station about the sale.

Despite internal and external denials about a rumored sale, it was clear that Zuffa was set to sell the company.  It will be sold to WME-IMG for approximately $4.2 billion.  The deal will be backed by private equity firms Silver Lake, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the investment firm of Michael S. Dell per the NY Times.

The sole response, as of this writing, coming from Dana White’s twitter account tonight:

White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that he is staying on with the company as President despite the sale.

Payout Perspective:

We now learn that the reports of the sale back in May were true and the UFC was just holding the story until after UFC 200.  Notably, the UFC’s lawyers sent Jeremy Botter of FloSports (according to Botter in an interview with Josh Nason of The Wrestling Observer) a letter warning him about his report that the UFC was being sold.

As for the sale, the price tag is amazing for a sport that you still must consider niche (fighting does not appeal to a broad base) but attractive to a young demo with disposable income.  We shall see what directions the new owners pursue and what level of input White will have with the ownership.

15 Responses to “UFC sold, announcement Monday”

  1. tops E on July 11th, 2016 3:18 AM

    Hahaha….good luck to the new owners how to get back 4 billion hahaha….the sport is all dw hype..its a bubble ready to burst….i keep saying for years ufc 100 did not do the numbers they say— because at that time schafer challenged them to examine theyre books and they just kept quiet….in mcgregor press conference he said ufc 196 was bigger than ufc 100 and ufc 100 did not reach the claimed number..did dw protest?

  2. mma guru on July 11th, 2016 4:57 AM

    So there you have it. To the non-believers, the sale has been all but confirmed. I predicted this in 2015.

  3. jf on July 11th, 2016 5:16 AM

    @ tops E

    “in mcgregor press conference he said ufc 196 was bigger than ufc 100 and ufc 100 did not reach the claimed number”

    He never said anything about 100 not making the claimed numbers. He said he headlined the biggest PPV in UFC history and other sources have also claimed that 196 did slightly more than 100.

  4. jjjjjj_ffffff on July 11th, 2016 6:22 AM

    There’s already rumors that the UFC is looking for $250M PER YEAR when the Fox Deal expires in 2018.

  5. tops E on July 11th, 2016 6:38 AM

    From mcgregor
    “I’m happy with my No. 1 spot currently,” McGregor said. “It’s the No. 1 pay-per-view in the company’s history. People think UFC 100 did more pay-per-view buys, but it didn’t – know that.”

    The widely reported numbers for UFC 100 stand at 1.6 million pay-per-view “buys” while UFC 196 was reported to garner 1.5 million.

    So the record highest is 1.5M? I like he used ” but it didnt- know that”.. message for dw diciples hahaha

  6. tops E on July 11th, 2016 6:44 AM

    If zuffa was making so much as they say they did then why was the long term loan not paid easily? 300M( how many years of operating)..now new owners are starting with 2 B deficit..lol

  7. Diego on July 11th, 2016 7:04 AM

    I can’t decide if a corporate owner is better or worse than Fretitta-White ownership. Time will tell.

    The folks at Dell and KKR are good investors unaccustomed to losing money. If they are paying $4.2B (for a company with debt, which means the valuation is higher) there must be a reason. I think we can now say beyond a reasonable doubt that this experiment in MMA as sports-entertainment has been a success. We now have two organizations with deep pockets invested in the sport (remember Viacom). The nay-sayers may want to take notice. For me the debate is officially done. MMA works as a profitable sport and is here to stay. No more: “loan coming due…ha ha ha…UFC sinking…MMA dying…”

  8. tops E on July 11th, 2016 7:08 AM

    Research first on the wme img….got a china angle on the next article……

  9. tops E on July 11th, 2016 7:13 AM

    If you read wme img and wanda group are racing at buying companies….wanda buying american companies in entertainment because….i guess they can…also they must like buying ” american” as for theyre rival wme img they partnered with a chinese company to get into china.

  10. tops E on July 11th, 2016 7:34 AM

    “The debate is officially done.mma is a profitable sport”….well before the UFc wme img bought the “bullrider league and the miss universe” is it because its profitable? hahaha

  11. jjjjjj_ffffff on July 11th, 2016 10:50 AM

    BREAKING NEWS: Bones Jones tested Positive for 2 different Estrogens Blockers..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s0IiffbuVE

  12. Diego on July 11th, 2016 11:12 AM

    “The debate is officially done.mma is a profitable sport”….well before the UFc wme img bought the “bullrider league and the miss universe” is it because its profitable? hahaha

    Yes. Why else would they buy them?

  13. tops E on July 11th, 2016 12:54 PM

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2015/06/30/miss-universe-pageant-declares-show-must-go-on-but-will-anyone-see-it.html

    Hahahahaha…miss universe from 9.2 mill to 3.8 mil viewers….profitable? Looks like a declining company being bought….trump must be happy with the sale…

  14. mma guru on July 11th, 2016 1:56 PM

    Ok, how come you guys don’t know the difference between valuation and how much cash will change hands, etc. The valuation is 4.2 billion. Depending on % ownership that the Ferrettis, Dana and Flash Entertainment will keep, and how much debt needs to be resolved and how much free cash Zuffa has, the actual cash paid out will be substantially different .

    Also consider stocks and other methods for a leverage buyout to finance the purchase. Anyway, the Ferrettis and Dana will be rich upon imagination, but they ain’t getting 4.2 billion in their pocket, that is simply the valuation. Sometimes I wonder how this site can claim to be about MMA financials yet have no clue about simple financial concepts or chose not to write about it. Sorry if im sounding terse.

  15. fight fan on July 11th, 2016 1:59 PM

    Uncertain times ahead for UFC, the peak has come and gone and now they will need to find a way to recoup that 4 billion they just spent. Expect PPV prices to increase for sure.

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