Abu Dhabi government-owned sports promotion and entertainment company Flash Entertainment has sold its 10% stake in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to Endeavor, the parent company of American mixed martial arts (MMA) promotions.
Flash Entertainment retained a minority share in UFC in 2016 when the MMA organisation was sold to a group of investors led by global talent agency WME | IMG – now known as Endeavor – in a deal worth $4.2 billion, marking the largest-ever acquisition in sports at that time.
UFC President Dana White retained his position along with the 9% stake after the acquisition.
However, Flash Entertainment chief executive John Lickrish revealed in an interview with the Arabian Business magazine that the company has now agreed to sell the UFC stake it acquired for a reported $200 million in 2010. “After almost ten years the time was right to exit that investment,” said Lickrish.
The financial details of the deal have not been revealed, although the purchase comes just weeks after UFC president Dana White claimed the organisation is now worth $7 billion, almost double of what Endeavor paid in 2016 to acquire it. Reports suggest that Flash could have netted as much as $700 million from the sale considering White’s statement.
Also Read: Dana White: UFC valued at $ 7 billion
White’s claim can also be substantiated from the fact that UFC had its biggest financial year ever in 2017 with record profits and will move its television home to ESPN in 2019 in a record $1.5 billion five-year deal. “We just did a TV deal with ESPN for $1.5 billion for five years. Now the company is worth $7 billion,” White said in an interview.
Endeavor’s investment comes just over a year after what was then WME | IMG secured a cash injection of $1 billion in a move reportedly designed to allow the company to buy out some of the UFC’s minority partners. Shortly after that deal went through, WME | IMG purchased the remaining UFC shares of the Fertitta brothers, Lorenzo and Frank, and has now taken another step to strengthen its grip on the world’s richest and most successful MMA organisation.