January 02, 2020

Endeavor Buys Luxury-Events Business From Bruin, RedBird

Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., the talent agency and media business led by Ari Emanuel, acquired On Location Experiences, a high-end events business for the wealthy, from existing investors.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, though people familiar with the matter said it’s valued at about $660 million.

The NFL, an investor in the company, is expected to increase its stake in the business to 20%, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The new owners named veteran media executive Paul Caine as president of On Location.

“By bringing together a leader like On Location with Endeavor’s access and reach, we can advance the way consumers and brands think about money-can’t-buy experiences,” Emanuel said in a statement.

On Location offers luxury travel, accommodations, and experiences like on-field and postgame access at the Super Bowl and international sports events. It has a number of major rights in its portfolio, including deals with the NCAA, the Masters, Grand Slam tennis events and the Ryder Cup.

“We are committed to offering NFL fans unique and first- class experiences at our events,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “On Location shares this commitment and delivers value for its partners and delights fans at events around the world.”

The sale delivers a windfall to owners that include RedBird Capital, Bruin Sports Capital and Carlyle Group. RedBird and Bruin acquired the business for about $70 million in April 2015, people with knowledge of the matter said in April, when Bloomberg News first reported on the deal talks.

Music Festivals

The company also partners with music festivals and has eyed international expansion to link with major events and rights holders like the Olympics, FIFA and Formula One racing.

Endeavor, parent of the Hollywood talent agency WME, called off an initial public offering in September, with the owners saying at the time that they wouldn’t “undervalue our company” amid a souring of the IPO market.

In November, Endeavor bought the Harry Walker Agency, a group that books speaking engagements for celebrities including U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Shaquille O’Neal and former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

Endeavor has been adding to its entertainment assets, which include the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Miss Universe and Professional Bull Riders. Caine in an interview said UFC’s growth under Endeavor is a good model for what can be accomplished with On Location.

Bruin and RedBird owned more than 30% of On Location, according to one of the people, while Carlyle has about 10%.

John Collins, On Location’s chief executive the past four years, will be an adviser to the company and Endeavor.


Originally published: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-01/endeavor-said-to-buy-luxury-events-business-from-bruin-redbird