WME | IMG to Acquire UFC for $4 Billion
WME | IMG has acquired UFC, the world’s premier professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. The company will serve as UFC’s operating partner, focusing on accelerating the sport’s popularity and presence around the world.
According to WME | IMG, Silver Lake Partners and KKR will join WME | IMG as new strategic investors, along with MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P., which will provide preferred equity financing.
Dana White will remain president of UFC. In a press release on the transaction he said, “No other sport compares to UFC. Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans, and to make this the biggest sport in the world. I’m looking forward to working with WME | IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”
WME | IMG now owns 50 percent of UFC GYM, with the other 50 percent being owned by New Evolution Ventures (NeV).
UFC GYM has over 100 locations in the U.S. and internationally. It is the first major brand extension of the UFC brand.
Concerning the news, UFC GYM president Adam Sedlack said in a social media post: “This will mean continued growth of the UFC and UFC GYM. Big time congrats to Lorenzo [J. Fertitta, chairman and CEO of UFC], Dana [White], and all of the fighter[s] for building something special. I really look forward to all of the new relationships the new ownership group brings to the table. Very impressive and I could not be happier for the @ufcgym team members. Big things ahead.”
WME | IMG is a global leader in entertainment, sports and fashion operating in more than 30 countries. Named one of Fortune’s 25 Most Important Private Companies, the company specializes in talent representation and management; brand strategy, activation and licensing; media production, sales and distribution; and event production and management.