May 24, 2019

Talent agency Endeavor files for IPO

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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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.