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Endeavor, owner of WME talent agency, scraps IPO plans

2017 LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Mark Bradford And George Lucas Presented By Gucci - Inside
Endeavor chief Ari Emanuel.
(Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for LACMA)

Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., the owner of talent agency WME and sports league UFC, has officially withdrawn its intention to go public.

In a Wednesday filing, Endeavor’s deputy general counsel and corporate secretary, Joel Karansky, told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the company “no longer wishes to conduct a public offering of securities at this time.”

The Beverly Hills-based company in September canceled its much-anticipated initial public offering a day before its shares were expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange, citing hazardous market conditions.

Peloton Interactive Inc., an internet-connected indoor exercise equipment company, had earlier seen its stock drop more than 11% in its first day of trading. Co-working company We Co., parent of WeWork, pulled the plug on its own IPO plans last month.

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At the time, Endeavor had left open the possibility that it might return to the public market if conditions improved.

Many industry analysts, however, were skeptical, given the underperformance of public offerings by Peloton and Uber, as well as WeWork’s decision to postpone its IPO.

The about-face was a rare setback for Endeavor leader Ari Emanuel, whose ambition is to make Endeavor into a global entertainment juggernaut. The IPO was supposed to help fuel its ascent by raising cash to chip away at its $4.6-billion debt and fund future acquisitions.

When Endeavor yanked its IPO on Thursday, the move marked a rare and humbling stumble for Hollywood power agent Ari Emanuel, and left questions about what’s next for his firm.


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