Endeavor said to buy luxury-events business from Bruin, RedBird

BLOOMBERG – Endeavor Group Holdings Inc, the talent agency and media business led by Ari Emanuel, is poised to acquire On Location Experiences, a high-end events business for the wealthy, in a deal valued at about USD660 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The NFL, an investor in the company, is expected to increase its stake in the business to 20 per cent, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The new owners are set to name veteran Media Executive Paul Caine as Chief Executive Officer of On Location, they said.

On Location offers luxury travel, accommodations, and experiences like on-field and post-game 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.

The sale delivers a windfall to owners that include RedBird Capital, Bruin Sports Capital and the Carlyle Group. RedBird and Bruin acquired the business for about USD70 million in April 2015, people with knowledge of the matter said in April, when Bloomberg News first reported on the deal talks.

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.

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

Endeavor has been adding to its entertainment assets, which include the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Miss Universe and Professional Bull Riders.

Bruin and RedBird each own more than 30 per cent of On Location, according to one of the people, while Carlyle has about 10 per cent.