Saudi Fund in Talks to Buy Stake in WME Parent Company

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Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel (left), chairman Patrick Whitesell

The sovereign wealth fund could spend more than $500 million to take a 5 percent-10 percent stake in the owner of WME.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, is in talks about acquiring a stake in Endeavor, the holding company for talent agency WME, a source confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter

Bloomberg News first reported the talks, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

The preliminary discussions have focused on an investment of more than $500 million for a stake of 5 percent-10 percent, Bloomberg reported. The Saudi fund couldn't be reached for comment. 

Endeavor was valued at $6.3 billion when it raised money in August, according to Bloomberg. Private equity firm Silver Lake, Japan's SoftBank, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are among its current investors.

The capital infusion would give Endeavor more funds for its continued growth. Led by CEO Ari Emanuel and chairman Patrick Whitesell, the firm operates WME, the Miss Universe organization, sports and fashion powerhouse IMG and Ultimate Fighting Championship, among others.

The Saudi fund has struck some international deals before, including a $20 billion commitment to a U.S. infrastructure fund managed by Blackstone Group, up to $45 billion for a SoftBank technology fund and a $3.5 billion investment in Uber.

The entertainment industry is a key focus for the Saudi fund in the future. It has said it would establish an entertainment investment company that could spend up to 10 billion riyals, or $2.67 billion.

 

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