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Endeavor Sets IPO Launch For Next Week

Patrick Hipes and Dominic Patten

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Endeavor Group Holdings, the company led by CEO Ari Emanuel and executive chairman Patrick Whitesell, will launch its initial public offering on September 27. The news of the first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange came Friday via a video obtained by Deadline.

The company, whose holdings include Hollywood talent agent WME and the UFC, had detailed in an SEC filing earlier this week that it has priced the IPO at $30-$32 per share, and that it will trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “EDR.”

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The news of the stock launch date comes as Goldman Sachs strategists today warned of “high October volatility.”

A total of 19,354,839 Class A shares will be offered at launch, a move that the company said in the video is expected to raise $600 million. The offering values to company at about $8 billion. And don’t take a Friday stock debut as a red flag. To launch at the end of the week is pretty common among big ticket IPOs – tech titian Facebook went public on May 18, 2012, a Friday.

The high production value video aimed at investors and the Wall Street crowd runs just more that 30 minutes and starts with Emanuel detailing a near-death experience with a flatbed truck back in his ICM days. The takeaway from Endeavor’s move to go public is, to quote the CEO, that “life is not a dress rehearsal.”

Helmed in-house and with lots of road footage, the very 30 For 30-like video also features boosting tales and remarks from co-founder Patrick Whitesell as well CFO Jason Lublin, Endeavor chief Mark Shapiro, chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John, and HR boss Kerry Chandler.

And, through different modes, but to a similar end, they make their IPO point bluntly to investors.

“We have the opportunity when we come to work every day to drive broader culture and to drive positivity in society,” declares Chandler, putting forth the happy face of the multi-faceted company. “OK, here’s the thing about Endeavor, every day you are consuming something produced by the company,” asserts Saint John to the camera in addition.

The amended SEC filing earlier this week also included financial results for the first six months of 2019. Endeavor said it brought in a bit more than $2 billion in revenue, compared with $1.5 billion in the same period of 2018. Net losses narrowed to $220.3 million from $475.6 million.

Endeavor first filed its IPO paperwork last May. The offering was delayed pending the close of the $700 million acquisition of hospitality and live events company On Location Experiences.

Some on Wall Street have questioned the IPO because of the amount of debt Endeavor is holding, and WME itself has been criticized by the WGA its rush to go public. The writers guild has repeatedly spotlighted the agency as being one of the most problematic in terms of its adherence to packaging and compensation disparity for WGA members.

Along with CAA, UTA and ICM Partners, WME is currently entangled in a multi-lawsuit battle with the guild over packaging and agency-affiliated production – a state of pitched affairs destined to endure long after next week’s big expected windfall.

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