Endeavor Goes Private for $13B + Valuation Multiples

April 12, 2024 by  Chris Erwin

RockWater Roundup

RockWater analysis to make you a better investor and operator. Today we discuss Silver Lake’s $13B buyout of diversified media co Endeavor, how Endeavor grew through aggressive M&A, its cap table history, the deal value drivers, and an analysis of valuation multiples.

Silver Lake will take Endeavor private for $13B.

Just 3 years after going public in 2021.

The deal follows CAA being bought by Artemis for $7B in 2023.

Let’s break it down… 


🎯TARGET: Endeavor 

  • A global sports, entertainment, and talent management company
  • Founded 1995 by Ari Emanuel, Rick Rosen, Tom Strickler, and David Greenblat
  • Rebranded to Endeavor in 2017: WME is talent agency, IMG is sports agency
  • Launched Endeavor Content in 2017 from film financing, TV scripted, content advisory units
  • Has 51% stake in TKO, parent co of merged WWE-UFC
  • $6B of 2023 revenue, up 13% YoY
  • $557M of 2023 net income, up 73% YoY
  • $1.21M of adj EBITDA, up 4.5% YoY
  • 10,000 team members



  • 2009 merged with William Morris Agency to create William Morris Endeavor
  • 2013 acquired IMG for $2.3B, and 49% of Droga5 (later sold to Accenture for $233M)
  • 2015 acquired Global Esports Mgmt, Pro Bull Riders, and Miss Universe (from Trump) (later sold to JKN Global for $14M)
  • 2016 acquired UFC for $4B, and RWSG literary agency
  • 2017 acquired Bloom, a film finance co
  • 2021 acquired OpenBet for $800M
  • 2023 acquired Asylum Entertainment, and Ross Yoon Agency
  • 2023 merged WWE with Endeavor-owned UFC, created new public co



  • 2012 sold 31.25% stake to Silver Lake for $250M
  • 2016 Softbank and Fidelity invested in the rebranded WME-IMG
  • 2016 formed JV for China growth w/ Sequoia, Tencent, and FountainVest
  • 2019 failed IPO 
  • 2021 IPO’d on NYSE, Elon Musk joined board
  • 2021 sold 80% of Endeavor Content to CJ ENM for $785M (mandated by WGA compliance)
  • 2023 formed TKO Group Holdings via merger of WWE and Endeavor-owned UFC


💰BUYER: Silver Lake

  • One of world’s largest PE firms
  • $101B assets under mgmt
  • Founded 1999 by Jim Davidson, Glenn Hutchins, Roger McNamee, David Roux
  • Original investment mandate was mature technology co’s, 1st fund was $2.3B
  • In 2012 did 1st minority investment into WME
  • Backed WME’s 2013 purchase of IMG, and then UFC in 2016  
  • Co-CEO Egon Durban has close ties to Endeavor leadership
  • 189 employees per website



  • Silver Lake buying 100% of shares it doesn’t already own
  • Silver Lake previously owned 37% of outstanding shares, 71% of voting shares
  • Endeavor stockholders get $27.50 in cash, a 55% premium to its unaffected share price of $17.72 on 10.25.23 (day before announcement of “strategic review”)
  • Deal values equity at $13B, and seems $5B of debt is rolling over
  • Est $4.6B equity premium to existing stockholders
  • TKO Group Holdings not part of deal, will remain public
  • All Endeavor + TKO valued at $25B, per Silver Lake
  • Expected to close 1Q 2025
  • $289M breakup fee if Endeavor accepts other proposal
  • $705 termination fee is Silver Lake can’t close



  • “Maximize value for all of Endeavor’s public stockholders” 
  • “Unlock and invest in growth opportunities ahead as a private company”
  • aka the public markets didn’t ascribe high value to non UFC assets, so sum of parts will be greater than the whole



  • Ari stays CEO of newly-private Endeavor
  • Whitesell will stay on Endeavor board, Shapiro stays on as prez
  • Various non-core assets will be sold off to highest bidders
  • TKO “will continue to benefit from its connectivity to Endeavor’s expertise, relationships and significant capabilities”
  • Silver Lake committing $250M to exec chairman Patrick Whitesell’s new media co / investment vehicle



  • Overall, the 3 Endeavor execs of Ari, Patrick, and Mark are making out VERY well
  • There are many forms of compensation as part of deal that will significantly enrich these 3 execs (who are already very well off), from salary and perks (like private jets) to profit sharing and bonuses for future Endeavor asset sales
  • Due to my limited time getting this report out this morning, I’ll defer to the extensive existing coverage out there on all the detail here. Puck and Variety do a great job covering it, go check out their publications!

Now, some valuation analysis…

See data table below, and my explanation that follows.


($Ms) 2023 % of Total 2022 YoY Growth
Owned Sports Properties (UFC, WWE) $1,816 30.5% $1,332 36.3%
Events, Experiences, & Rights $2,173 36.5% $2,192 -0.9%
Representation (WME, IMG) $1,544 25.9% $1,512 2.1%
Sports Data & Technology $470 7.9% $261 80.1%
Eliminations -$43 -0.7% -$29 48.3%
TOTAL $5,960 100.0% $5,268 13.1%
Owned Sports Properties (UFC, WWE) $827 68.0% $648 27.6%
Events, Experiences, & Rights $228 18.8% $295 -22.7%
Representation (WME, IMG) $391 32.2% $470 -16.8%
Sports Data & Technology $63 5.2% $48 31.3%
Corporate -$293 -24.1% -$297 -1.3%
TOTAL $1,216 100.0% $1,164 4.5%
Adj. EBITDA Margins
Owned Sports Properties (UFC, WWE) 45.5% 48.6%
Events, Experiences, & Rights 10.5% 13.5%
Representation (WME, IMG) 25.3% 31.1%
Sports Data & Technology 13.4% 18.4%
TOTAL 20.40% 22.10%
Enterprise Value Calc
Equity Value $13,000
LT debt (incl current portion) $5,028
LT operating leases (incl current portion) $364
Cash & equivalents -$1,167
TOTAL $17,225
LTM Multiples
2023 Revenue 2.9x
2023 Adj EBITDA 14.2x
Forward Multiples
2024 Revenue $7,300
2024 Revenue Multiple 2.4x
2024 EBITDA (assumes 2023 margin) $1,489
2024 EBITDA Multiple 11.6x
CAVEAT: This is a quick & dirty valuation analysis. I did not scrutinize financial statements for adjustments like non controlling interest in TKO (seems Endeavor will still own 51% of public co post buyout), minority interests in other co’s, other LT liabilities, the co’s Adj. EBITDA definitions, what debt and equity interests are being rolled over, etc. I just don’t have the time this week, but there are any good Wall Street Research analyst reports to reference here, particularly as more info about the deal is released


Some key takeaways from the above data:


  • First, a note on info sources and caveats → My analysis is based on company SEC filings and public reporting, and there’s an important caveat I note at bottom of chart. In particular, when doing the Enterprise Value and adj EBITDA calcs, there’s an adjustment for non controlling interest (NCI) in TKO, parent co of UFC-WWE, and other non-100% owned businesses, that could materially impact valuation multiples. There’s a NCI expense on the P&L, but requires more scrutiny. I also assume that Endeavor will still own 51% of public co TKO after going private. Overall, Endeavor and this deal are complex, making the deal analysis challenging, so I invite crowdsourced feedback here…I want to get this right and you all may have some critical feedback here.


  • The owned sports properties biz is clearly the highest growth and margin biz segment (36% YoY rev growth and 46% profit margin for 2023). This biz seems to be supported by a large events services business that is slower growth but still profitable at a respectable 11% margin 


  • The representation business grew slowly YoY at 2.1%, and profit margin is worsening (declined 6 percentage points YoY to 25%). Likely significantly impacted by the writer and actor strikes, but still down significantly from $2B in 2021 (21%), so there are some issues to address in that biz (there’s more detail you can parse through in the MD&A section of the 10K). Though readers of our newsletter know the broader talent representation business is growing, particularly for sports and digital-native creators, and that buyers are putting a premium on representation companies


  • Further, Endeavor’s representation biz is 25% of total revenue, and 32% of adj EBITDA. Outside of owned sports properties, the rep biz is the 2nd highest margin biz of the 4 segments. And it likely has much room for improvement when comparing to 2022 performance and its private peers, and when considering the macro market tailwinds I mentioned above. Again, more rationale for why Silver Lake sees a premium and the rationale in taking the company biz private


  • My very quick and dirty analysis shows the buyout is at an LTM revenue multiple of 2.9x, and adj EBITDA multiple of 14.2x. That would be really high for a representation biz, but remember that the results include consolidation of the high-growth and high-margin sports properties biz. I don’t have the data to do a sum of the parts analysis for how Silver Lake is valuing the different biz lines, but my guess is that they’re putting a mid to high single digits EBITDA multiple on the rep biz, willing to pay a decent multiple relative to precedent rep company transactions, since Silver Lake assumes Endeavor’s rep biz is low margin and has significant room to grow


  • Lastly, this deal comes 5 months after Endeavor kicked off a “strategic review” of its assets for how to boost shareholder value. Those banker and PE teams likely have not slept much since Halloween 😉



I’m the founder of RockWater Industries. We do financial and strategy advisory for media, agencies, and creator economy. From M&A and fundraising to consumer research and go-to-market planning.

DM me on LinkedIn or email me chris @ wearerockwater dot com

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