Endeavor Group, the talent agency that Hollywood mogul Ari Emanuel has built into an entertainment conglomerate, signaled that it aims to keep gobbling up new companies as it filed to take itself public.
Emanuel — who inspired the Ari Gold character in HBO’s “Entourage” — wrote in a Thursday filing that Endeavor’s IPO will “further accelerate our ability to look around corners and open up new categories and opportunities.”
The Beverly Hills company already has a debt load of $4.6 billion, which has steadily climbed as it has scooped up new businesses since merging with William Morris Agency, Hollywood’s oldest talent broker, in 2009, the filing showed.
Recent buyout targets have included sports and modeling agency IMG Worldwide, which it bought in 2013 for $2.4 billion; the Miss Universe pageant, which it acquired from Donald Trump in 2015; and the Ultimate Fighting Championship league, which it bought for $4 billion in 2016.
The filing said Endeavor earned $231.3 million last year on revenue of $3.6 billion, although results were boosted by an asset sale. Meanwhile, interest payments of $277 million fueled a $107 million operating loss.
The 372-page document said Endeavor, which was most recently valued at around $6 billion, will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “EDR.”
Supervoting stock will concentrate power with 58-year-old Emanuel and 54-year-old Endeavor Executive Chairman Patrick Whitesell, whose wife, Lauren Sanchez, has lately made headlines for her steamy affair with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Including bonuses, Emanuel made $5.3 million last year and Whitesell $5.1 million, according to the filing. In 2017, Endeavor repurchased privately held stock from Emanuel and Whitesell worth $165 million each.
The IPO will also give backers Softbank and Silver Lake a chance to cash out. In 2012, Silver Lake invested $200 million in Endeavor for a 31 percent share and $500 million in 2014 for an additional 20 percent.
Endeavor’s IPO plans recently elicited a rebuke from the Writers Guild of America, which in a statement called the twin tasks of satisfying client needs while meeting Wall Street objectives “impossible to reconcile.”
Goldman Sachs will serve as the IPO’s lead underwriter, backed by JP Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and KKR Capital Markets.
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