Saudi Arabia eyes stake in Miss Universe owner Endeavor

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Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is in talks to buy a stake in Endeavor, the holding company for Hollywood talent agency WME, people familiar with the matter said.

The Public Investment Fund, known as PIF, is in preliminary discussions to invest more than $500m (£363m), which will help the talent agency for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon expand its operations, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The stake could range between 5 per cent and 10 per cent, though the final size and valuation are still being negotiated, they said.

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Discussions are ongoing, and no final decisions have been made, the people said.

Endeavor was valued at $6.3bn including debt when it raised money in August 2017, a person with knowledge of the matter said at the time, while its equity was valued at $5 billion. Its existing investors include Silver Lake, SoftBank, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Representatives for PIF, Endeavor and Silver Lake declined to comment.

An investment would give Endeavor money to fund its ever-growing web of entertainment, sports and fashion businesses. Chief Executive Officer Ari Emanuel and Chairman Patrick Whitesell have pushed Endeavor far beyond the roots of the talent agency for which the company is named.

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Endeavor runs WME, which represents movie stars, directors, TV producers and musicians. It also owns Professional Bull Riders, the Miss Universe organisation and IMG, a sports and fashion company. Endeavor completed its biggest deal to date in 2016 when it acquired Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed martial arts company.

Source Credit: The Independent

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