UFC closing in on $4bn sale, reports say

Two groups, WME-IMG in conjunction with Dalian Wanda Group, and China Media Capital, had similar bids in the $4.1bn range, sources say

UFC could soon be in new hands with two rival bids for the organization expected by the end of the week, sources said.

The two groups, WME-IMG in conjunction with Dalian Wanda Group, and China Media Capital, had similar bids in the $4.1bn range.

Last month, <a href=”https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/may/11/ufc-sale-dana-white-fertitta-brothers” data-link-name=”in” body link” class=”u-underline”>ESPNs Darren Rovell reported that UFC was up for sale for around $4bn, but those claims were swiftly denied by the organizations president, Dana White. The UFC is not for sale, White told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The ESPN story is overblown. Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts.

On Thursday, White told ESPN he had no comment on the latest developments.

White is one of four owners of Zuffa LCC, the UFCs parent company, and holds a 9% stake. Station Casino executives Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta own 81% of the company, with Abu Dhabi-based Flash Entertainment owning the other 10%.

Sources said that the bidding groups are still trying to finance the purchase for 100% of the company. They said WME co-chair Ari Emanuel has been touting the bid to rich investors, asking them to contribute between $25m and $50m.

The WME-IMG bid with Dalian also is reported to be backed by Tencent Holdings, one of the 10 largest internet companies in the world. State-backed investment firm China Media Capital has bankrolled many projects, including a five-year broadcast-rights deal with the Chinese Super League worth $1.3bn.

Zuffa bought UFC for $2m in 2001. The organization keeps its financial cards close to its chest, but Lorenzo Fertitta told CNN that the business grossed about $600m last year.

White is expected to stay on in some capacity if the deal goes through.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jun/16/ufc-sale-bids-reports-dana-white-china-media-capital

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