LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – After months of speculation and several reported near-deals, the sale of mixed martial arts fighting promotional company UFC was officially confirmed Monday – at a price tag of $4 billion.
Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG along with its owner Silver Lake Partners and other investment groups will take over the organization in what is believed to be the most expensive transaction in sports history.
“We’ve been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” WME-IMG co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell said in a statement. “It’s been exciting to watch the organization’s incredible growth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, Dana White and their dedicated team. We’re now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale.”
The sale represents a mammoth windfall for current UFC owners, Las Vegas casino moguls Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, who bought the organization for $2 million in 2000. Lorenzo Fertitta reported the company garnered nearly $600 million in profits last year, meaning the sale price is close to seven times the business’ gross annual revenue.
As recently as last week, Fertitta and UFC President Dana White denied that they had sold the business in a Los Angeles Times report.
White was expected to stay on as head of the company during the ownership transition and beyond.