Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s best-known mixed martial arts promotion brand, is being sold for $4 billion, one of the biggest deals of its kind, KLAS-TV, a CBS affiliate in Las Vegas, reported late Sunday. Company President Dana White tacitly acknowledged the report, which also said the buyers are sports talent giant WME-IMG and Michael Dell’s investment fund MSD Capital, minutes later on Twitter.
The deal was first announced on Twitter as well, by Chris Maathuis from KLAS-TV, who interviewed White.
— Chris Maathuis (@sports8) July 11, 2016
And White was quick to respond, though without any words.
— Dana White (@danawhite) July 11, 2016
According to Maathuis, White, who owns 9 percent of the company, will stay on at UFC as president, while brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta — who currently control the parent company Zuffa — will retain only a small percentage in the new company. The Fertitta brothers own 80 percent of UFC at present, having bought it for only $2 million 16 years ago. Lorenzo, who is chairman of UFC right now, will continue in his position for the few weeks the transition is expected to take.
Maathuis added that the official announcement of the deal, which was signed Saturday, was expected early Monday, and also suggested the involvement of Silver Lake Partners and KKR & Co.
The company had revenues of about $600 million in 2015. Fights are streamed live to users around the world on a subscription basis on both television and over the internet. Over the years, UFC has also bought many smaller rivals. The company had been subjected to many rumors regarding its sale the last couple of months, and a number of international names, including Chinese companies like Dalian Wanda, were said to have been interested.