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UFC owners at Endeavor bail on initial public offering after pulling stock set for Friday release

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Dana White, Frank Fertita III, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Ari Emanuel
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UFC parent company Endeavor will not be going public on Friday, Sept. 27 as initially scheduled.

The entertainment conglomerate headed up by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell had already dropped the price of their stocks for the initial public offering from $30 to $32 per share to $26 to $27 per share while also lowering the total number of shares that were going to be released.

Now, Endeavor has completely yanked their upcoming IPO from its scheduled release this week. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“Endeavor will continue to evaluate the timing for the proposed offering as market conditions develop,” the company said in a statement released on Thursday.

The news comes on the heels of concerns from many Wall Street analysts who cast doubt on the long term viability of Endeavor, which seemed to scare off a lot of investors.

The UFC, which is the most profitable business currently operating under the Endeavor umbrella, still faces questions about a volatile revenue stream controlled by pay-per-view in a superstar-driven sport.

At least a portion of those concerns were quelled thanks to a seven-year deal inked with ESPN that will bring in hundreds of millions while also signing on with the Disney-owned company to handle the pay-per-view business for the UFC as well.

Still, the UFC also is embroiled in a lawsuit with several ex-fighters right now that could dramatically damage their brand and the financial bottom line depending on the verdict in the case.

Add to that, Endeavor is locked in an ongoing battle with the Writers Guild of America regarding packaging deals on television that left many writers in Hollywood with a bad taste in their mouths. That led to a split between many writers and the Hollywood agency and that fight is still happening in a series of lawsuits.

After purchasing the UFC for just over $4 billion in 2016, rumors started that Endeavor was already considering going public, but it took nearly three years for that move to finally come to fruition.

The plan for the IPO was to raise over $600 million, with the bulk of those funds going to pay down existing debts with the rest used as operating capital for the company. When the stock prices were changed along with the total number of shares being offered, Endeavor stood to bring in less than $400 million, which was a significant shift from the original expectations with the IPO.

Endeavor pulling the IPO seems to confirm the concerns over the stock were real and opening day trading could have hurt the company more than help it. As of now there’s no word when—or if—Endeavor will reschedule the IPO.