After speculation had surfaced late last week that the majority owners of the UFC, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White, among others, were entertaining offers to sell the company, reports say that a deal has been struck and that the corporation will now be under new ownership.
Multiple sources confirmed with FloCombat on Monday afternoon that a bid of $4.2 billion from a group consisting of WME-IMG, the Dalian Wanda Group, The Kraft Group and Tencent Holdings was accepted by Zuffa brass. While this does not mean the entire company is officially sold, it is a strong likelihood that the sale will be completed shortly.
A sealed bidding process handled by the investment bank Goldman Sachs accepted private bids from a number of companies. Initially, many of the companies were filing separate bids. But unable to come close to the valuation Zuffa was looking for, they combined into two groups. One featured WME-IMG (led by Zuffa confidant Ari Emmanuel), the Dalian Wanda Group, The Kraft Group (owners of the New England Patriots and other sporting properties) and Tencent Holdings, the owners and operators of the largest internet portal in China.
The other group that submitted a sealed bid was China Media Capital. FloCombat sources indicate the CMC bid fell well short of the sought-after valuation.
Although Dana White, the UFC’s president, denied rumors in recent months, this sale all but ends his reign with the company, with many believing that this deal was to relieve 100 percent of their shares.
As for a return on investment, the UFC was founded in 2001 by the Fertitta brothers and White by purchasing the MMA company from the Semaphore Entertainment Group for a mere $2 million. Talk about a wise business move.