Flash Entertainment, which purchased ten percent of the UFC in 2010, for what was reported at the time as between $150 million and $175 million, has sold its stock to Endeavor.
The deal was reported Monday by Arabian Business, with a quote from Flash CEO John Lickrish. A source at UFC confirmed to MMAFighting.com that the story was accurate.
No sale price was released for the purchase. Endeavor had purchased the majority interest in UFC in the summer of 2016 from Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, the majority owners, outbidding a number of investment firms and television networks, with a sale price giving the company a valuation of $4 billion.
At the time Dana White had noted that Flash did not sell its stock, but expected that at some point it would happen.
Last year, Endeavor purchased the 5.8 percent of the company that Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta had retained in the initial sale, selling the stock at a price valuation of $5 billion.
White had just recently claimed that with its new television and streaming deal with ESPN, the company was now worth $7 billion. If Endeavor did value the company at that price, the Flash Entertainment percentage would be worth $700 million, although even if the value was at the level of last year’s Fertitta buy out, that would be $500 million, a sizeable profit for an eight-year investment.
”After almost ten years, the time was right to exit that investment,” Lickrish said.
Lickrish noted it was challenging to be partners with major international brands. Flash still has ownership stakes in Ticketmaster and the FIFA World Cup.
”We’ve tried a few and it’s always give and take,” Lirckrish said. “There’s what’s on the piece of paper and then there’s the reality of making it work in practice. And the larger the organization, the more challenging it can be.”
Flash signed on to be a silent partner in UFC, and the belief was that would lead to UFC events on a regular basis in the country. But UFC has only run twice in Abu Dhabi, a pay-per-view in 2010 and a Fight Night in 2014.