Endeavor looking to raise $250 million amid coronavirus
Hollywood powerhouse Endeavor is looking to raise $250 million by June in a bid to offset the crushing blow dealt to its show-business properties by the coronavirus pandemic, The Post has learned.
As reported by The Post, the conglomerate headed by super agent Ari Emanuel — which owns half of Ultimate Fighting Championship in addition to controlling the William Morris talent agency and the Miss Universe pageant — had been banking on getting a crucial $150 million dividend payment from UFC this year.
But that windfall — which would have allowed Endeavor to offer a stock buyback program to employees and rebuild the company after it pulled its IPO in September — got canceled last month as the coronavirus spurred a slew of cancellations on UFC’s calendar, sources told The Post.
The fallout from the coronavirus has ground Endeavor’s business to a halt, and now Emanuel, who inspired the pushy, bombastic lead character, Ari Gold, on HBO’s “Entourage,” is in need of cash to keep the lights on and is turning to private equity firm Silver Lake, which already owns a 42 percent stake in the business, sources said.
Silver Lake is speaking to other institutions about investing and could also invest itself, said a source with knowledge, adding that the $250 million figure was a round number it was presenting to potential investors. Both Silver Lake and Endeavor declined to comment.
A source close to Endeavor said while the private equity firm isn’t planning to increase its stake in Endeavor, it’s going to “support the company financially if it has any liquidity issues.”
The news comes after Endeavor said Wednesday that it will furlough or cut the pay of 2,500 employees, which make up one-third of Endeavor’s 7,500-person workforce. According to sources, those stark actions will save Endeavor about $100 million for the year, including salary reduction that will last through 2020 in some cases.
Insiders said any money raised through cost savings — and from Silver Lake — will go toward basic company functions, such as payroll and rent. By June, all of Endeavor’s cost-cutting will have been completed and there should be better visibility into when different parts of the business will open back up, a source said, adding that plans for the $250 million investment could change based on those factors.
Endeavor rep Christian Muirhead declined to comment on any fundraising plans, but addressed the cutbacks in a statement.
“The long-term prospects for Endeavor remain unchanged, but like other companies, we are taking a variety of actions to mitigate the impact of this pandemic,” said Muirhead. “Since late March, we have been rolling out cost-saving measures in phases across our companies and geographies and intend to complete most of this process in late May. Approximately a third of our population will be impacted by reduced pay for reduced work, furlough, or position elimination, with the majority affected by reduced work and furlough.”
Starting Monday, higher ups at Endeavor began informing employees about whether their jobs have been eliminated entirely, temporarily suspended, or whether they will have to take every other week off and suffer a 50-percent reduction in salary, The Post has learned.
People being asked to come in every other week are expected to have to do so for between two and six months, sources said. Their salary reductions, however, will remain in place until Dec. 31 of this year — even if coronavirus-related work restrictions are lifted and employees come back to work full-time.
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