May 24, 2019 - Economy

Talent agency Endeavor files for IPO

In this image, Ari Emanuel poses with two men and a blonde woman for a picture.

Ari Emanuel, sportscaster Jim Gray, and Tony and Margaret McGregor at the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor official weigh-in on August 25, 2017. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Endeavor Group, the talent agency and live events company led by Ari Emanuel, filed for an initial public offering yesterday.

The big picture: While legacy media businesses have spent billions of dollars building "pipes" (cable networks, movie theaters), Endeavor has focused on owning premium content that can then be distributed through those pipes.

Between the lines: Endeavor is perhaps best known for representing movie stars. But according to the filing, more than 70% of its $3.6 billion revenue last year came from creating and licensing content — much of it in sports.

  • Endeavor owns the UFC and Professional Bull Riders (PBR), as well as a video streaming business with clients like the NFL, NBA, MSG, Big Ten Network and WWE.

Buzz: Emanuel was the inspiration behind Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold character on "Entourage." He's also the brother of former White House chief of staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The bottom line: Emanuel writes in the IPO prospectus:

"Content is no longer defined solely by the traditional categories on which our businesses were founded. Television, movies and live events have been joined by others including podcasts, experiences, social media, multiplayer video games and esports. Wherever you are in the world and whatever way you define content, Endeavor is likely playing a role."

Go deeper: We've covered Fanatics for this week's sports business spotlight — as well as Nasdaq, Sports Business Awards, and Opendorse.

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