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UFC owners at Endeavor lower the price of stock for IPO, plan to issue fewer shares

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC’s parent company Endeavor is lowering the price of the stock that will be up for grabs on Friday with an initial public offering.

In paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Endeavor lowered the starting price of their stock to a range of $26 to $27 per share from its initial price of $30 to $32. The company also opted to issue fewer shares than initially planned, offering 15 million from an initial pledge of 19.4 million.

When Endeavor planned the IPO, the expectation was that the sale of 19.4 million shares would produce upwards of more than $600 million in revenue with plans to use the bulk of those funds to pay down existing debts and use the rest as operating capital.

Now with the new price and fewer shares being offered, Endeavor is looking at less than $400 million in funds being produced from the IPO — far less than targeted.

“Based on an assumed initial public offering price of $27 per share (the highpoint of the estimated public offering price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus), we estimate that the net proceeds from this offering will be $361.6 million (or $419.3 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full), after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us,” the filing stated per The Hollywood Reporter.

Rumors had swirled after Endeavor initially earmarked their stock to sell for $30 to $32 per share that investors were lukewarm on the company’s long term prospects due to the volatile nature of its business holdings. The UFC, which is the most profitable piece of the Endeavor empire, faces constant ups and downs in ratings and pay-per-view revenue as a star driven sport. It has managed to offset some of that volatility with television rights deals including a long-term broadcast partnership with ESPN.

The UFC isn’t the only Endeavor business facing headwinds. The company’s flagship operation as a powerhouse talent agency is embroiled in controversy due to an ongoing battle with the Writers Guild of America.

All of those factors appeared to make investors sheepish, which may have played some part in Endeavor’s decision to shift directions for its IPO.