Endeavor (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from WME/IMG)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc.
IndustryTalent and literary agencies
PredecessorsWilliam Morris Agency
Endeavor Talent Agency
Founded2009; 12 years ago (2009)
in Beverly Hills, California, United States
United States
Key people
Patrick Whitesell (Executive chairman)
Ari Emanuel (CEO)
Jason Lublin (CFO)
Professional Bull Riders
Miss Universe
Endeavor Streaming

Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (also known as Endeavor Content for films and formerly known as William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, WME or WME-IMG) is an American holding company for talent and media agencies with its primary offices in Beverly Hills, California, United States.[1][2] The company was founded in April 2009 after the merger of the William Morris Agency and the original Endeavor Talent Agency. Endeavor represents artists in movies, television, music, theater, digital media, and publishing.[3] It also represents the NFL and NHL.[4] Endeavor owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship[5] and Miss Universe. It is headed by CEO Ari Emanuel and executive chairman Patrick Whitesell.



The Endeavor Talent Agency launched in 1995.[6] By 2009, it was one of the fastest-growing Hollywood talent agencies, with The New York Times singling out its reputation for "quick thinking, ferocity and barely bridled ambition".[7]

William Morris Endeavor[edit]

On April 27, 2009, WMA and the Endeavor Talent Agency announced that they were forming William Morris Endeavor, or WME.[8] Endeavor executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell were widely seen as the architects of the merger and quickly became the Co-CEOs of WME.[9] Following the official announcement of the merger, nearly 100 WMA employees and former board members were let go. One of those leaving was Jim Wiatt, who came to WMA in 1999 from International Creative Management, where he was Vice-Chairman. He had joined WMA as president and co-chief executive officers, and had risen to board Chairman.[10] Following the merger, WME moved its headquarters into the offices of Endeavor at 9601 Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Beverly Hills.[11]

In 2011, Emanuel was quoted in a Financial Times profile about the company saying, "We built a culture where people are rewarded for taking risks."[12] Emanuel and Whitesell implemented several leadership strategies to boost the productivity of their agents, most notably, the "Farmhouse" training program.[13]


Endeavor grew to include several subsidiary companies and expanded divisions. Fortune named co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell to their 2010 "Businessperson of the Year" list, acknowledging their corporate growth strategies.[14] Emanuel had previously been recognized as a 21st-century "super agent" by both The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, as well as an Advertising Age "Influencer."[15][16][17]

In July 2011, the company and its foundation created Camp Summer Eagle, which provides donations and activities for schoolchildren at Foster Elementary in Compton, California.[18]

Shortly after the merger, WME helped launch the investment group Raine,[19] which aligned the company with properties like Vice Media and Zumba Fitness. In 2010, WME partnered with RED Interactive,[20] a digital advertising agency. Two years later, they formed an alliance with the social media management firm TheAudience,[21] partnering with digital entrepreneur Sean Parker and executing social campaigns for properties like the Seth MacFarlane motion picture Ted and the Coachella Music Festival.[22] 2013 brought a strategic partnership between WME and creative music agency Jingle Punks, which creates, publishes and licenses music. WME is also an investor in the e-commerce platform [OpenSky], which was named one of America's "Most Promising Companies" by Forbes.[23] In 2013, Whitesell and Emanuel were profiled in Fast Company, highlighting the company's digital growth.[24]

On May 2, 2012, WME and Silver Lake, a technology-focused private equity firm based in Silicon Valley, signed an agreement for Silver Lake to acquire a 31% minority stake in the agency.[25] A new executive committee, consisting of Co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell and Silver Lake Partners Managing Director Egon Durban, leads the company's growth strategy and investment activities.[26][27] In July 2013, WME acquired a minority stake in the creative agency Droga5. The partnership combines the companies’ advertising and entertainment resources.[28]


On December 18, 2013, WME and Silver Lake announced the acquisition of IMG for $2.4 billion.[29] WME’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell took over as co-CEOs. On January 21, 2015, it was announced that WME had acquired Global eSports Management (GEM), an international agency representing various esports and professional video game players and personalities.[30] In April 2015 they bought Professional Bull Riders[31] On September 23, 2015 it was announced that WME/IMG would be partnering with Turner Broadcasting to create a televised esports league, the ELeague.[32]

On September 14, 2015, WME acquired from Donald Trump the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants and related content. The organization sells television rights to the pageants in other countries. Financial details were not disclosed.[33]

Softbank and Fidelity Investments in early 2016 invested in WME-IMG. The company formed a joint venture in June 2016 for China with Sequoia Capital, Tencent and Fountainvest Partners.[34]

On July 9, 2016, Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship, was sold to a group led by WME-IMG, its owner Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital, for $4.025 billion, the largest-ever acquisition in the sports industry.[35][36] On August 22, 2016, WME acquired the literary agency Rabineau Wachter Sanford & Gillett (RWSG); its co-founders, Sylvie Rabineau and Jill Holwager Gillett, head a division of WME involved in the coordination of screen adaptations of literature.[37][38] WME/IMG purchased in August 2017 a majority stake in Bloom, a film finance and sales company lead by Ken Kao and Alex Walton.[39]


WME-IMG reorganized in October 2017 with the parent company being renamed from WME-IMG to Endeavor. Ari Emanuel became Endeavor CEO and Patrick Whitesell became Endeavor executive chairman. The general talent agency retained the WME name as the sports agency retained the IMG name.[40]

In October 2017, Endeavor Content was formed from the WME's and IMG's film financing and scripted TV sales units, WME's advisory group for film financiers and content producers and Bloom, which will continue to operate autonomously. Appointed as co-presidents of Endeavor Content were Graham Taylor and Chris Rice with additional hires of Negeen Yazdi as senior vice president of film and Joe Hipps as senior vice president of television.[41]

On November 15, 2017, actor Terry Crews stated on Good Morning America that Adam Venit, head of WME's motion picture department, had squeezed Crews' genitals with his hand at an industry party in February 2016. WME responded they had suspended Venit following an internal investigation,[42] on November 27, 2017 it was announced Venit would return to work after a month's unpaid leave.[43] On December 4, 2017 lawyers acting on behalf of Terry Crews filed suit against WME and Venit stating "It is now time to hold Venit accountable for his sexual predatory behavior and to hold WME accountable for its conduct in condoning, ratifying, and encouraging Venit's sexual predatory behavior".[44]

Third Coast Content, a faith and family audiences production and publishing company, was founded in February 2018 by veteran film executive Ben Howard as CEO with Endeavor Content as an investor and as its provider of sales and advisory services.[45] In April 2019, Droga5 was acquired by Accenture.[46]

Initial public offering (IPO) filings[edit]

On 24 May 2019, Endeavor Group (EDR) filed the initial public offering (IPO) paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would have valued the company at $7.6 billion. The form detailed Endeavor's revenue was $3.61 billion in 2018 with a net income of $100.1 million after adjustments, and potential risks involved of being potentially sued (1) “over alleged long-term neurocognitive impairment arising from concussions”, (2) collective bargaining to unionize the MMA athletes, and (3) "five related class-action lawsuits filed against it alleging that UFC violated Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 by monopolizing the alleged market for elite professional MMA athletes' services".[47][48][49]

Also included in the filing was the statement that subsidiary WME Dragon Holdings LLC, which bought 49 percent of advertising agency Droga5 in 2013, agreed to sell its interest in Droga5 to Accenture Interactive for $233 million.[50]

On 26 September 2019, Endeavor Group announced it cancelled its planned IPO that had been set for the following day, 27 September 2019. Endeavor Group said in a statement: "Endeavor will continue to evaluate the timing for the proposed offering as market conditions develop."[51] Contributing factors were reported to be the under-performance of the recent IPO for Peloton[52] and an on-going lawsuit with several former UFC fighters.[53]

On 30 March 2021, Endeavor Group announced a new planned IPO for later in 2021.[54]

On 20 April 2021, Endeavor Group filed Form S-1 with the SEC, indicating an IPO date of 28 April 2021 under the symbol "EDR." As part of the filing, Elon Musk and Fawn Weaver were nominated to join the board of directors.[55] Endeavor subsequently used some of the proceeds from the IPO to buy out Zuffa's other shareholders at a value of $1.7 billion, making Zuffa a wholly-owned subsidiary of Endeavor.[5] On 19 July 2021, Ursula Burns joined the board of directors.[56] On 27 September 2021, Endeavor announced that it would acquire OpenBet for $1.2 billion in cast and stock.[57]


  • Endeavor (June 2016) Chinese subsidiary formed with the investments from Sequoia Capital, Tencent and FountainVest
  • Endeavor Content (October 2017) film financing and scripted TV sales
    • Bloom (August 2017) majority stake, a film finance and sales company[41]
    • Third Coast Content (February 2018) investment[45]
  • The Miss Universe Organization, the pageant company
  • Frieze, the fine arts and media company
  • Wonderful Union (August 2018) [58]
  • On Location Experiences (January 2020) majority stake, a hospitality and live events company[59]
Talent agencies
  • WME, the talent agency
  • Dixon Talent, late-night luminaries and other hosts
  • IMG, the sports, fashion and entertainment
  • The Wall Group, stylists and designers
Sports organizations


  1. ^ "WME IMG Holdings LLC - Company Profile and News". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  2. ^ Sebastian, Dave (September 16, 2019). "Endeavor Group Could Raise $712 Million in IPO". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  3. ^ Garrahan, Matthew (December 6, 2011). "Rewriting the Hollywood script". Financial Times. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  4. ^ "What Talent-Agency Merger Could Mean for Brands". Ad Age. April 28, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Damon Martin (March 31, 2021). "Endeavor closes deal for 100 percent controlling interest over UFC ahead of planned IPO, Elon Musk joins board of directors". MMA Fighting. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  6. ^ Galloway, Stephen (March 5, 2013). "Jeff Berg Speaks: Plans for New Agency, What Really Happened at ICM (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. ^ Cieply, Michael (July 27, 2008). "Agents Replaying a Hollywood Drama". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (April 27, 2009). "WMA, Endeavor approve merger". Variety.
  9. ^ "It's A Takeover, Not A Merger". LA Weekly. May 28, 2009.
  10. ^ Michael Cieply (December 26, 2009). "Layoffs in the William Morris-Endeavor Merger". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Finke, Nikki (October 9, 2009). "WME Will Stay In Endeavor Headquarters Instead Of Moving To New Morris Building". Deadline.
  12. ^ Garrahan, Matthew (December 6, 2011). "Rewriting the Hollywood script". Financial Times. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  13. ^ Lashinsky, Adam (May 23, 2013). "Hi, It's Ari @#$%ing Emanuel, and I plan to shake up Hollywood". Fortune. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  14. ^ P.N. (November 19, 2010). "Businessperson of the Year". Fortune. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  15. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (March 16, 2011). "Natalie Portman sparks Hollywood battle". The Guardian.
  16. ^ Hampp, Andrew (January 3, 2011). "Influencer: Ari Emanuel, William Morris Endeavor Agency". Advertising Age.
  17. ^ Karmin, Craig (January 27, 2012). "How a Parking Garage Stymied Hollywood's Super Agent". Wall Street Journal.
  18. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (July 18, 2011). "Campers get star treatment from WME". Retrieved July 18, 2011.
  19. ^ Lattman, Peter (September 19, 2010). "Ex-Bankers Start Fund to Invest in Media". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  20. ^ "RED Interactive Agency". Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  21. ^ Empson, Rip. "TheAudience: A Stealthy, Celeb-Driven Startup Co-founded By Sean Parker, Ari Emanuel & Oliver Luckett". Tech Crunch. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  22. ^ Barnes, Brooks. "A-Listers, Meet Your Online Megaphone". New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  23. ^ "America's Most Promising Companies". Forbes. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  24. ^ Laporte, Nicole (March 18, 2013). "WME's Agent Provocateurs Ari Emanuel And Patrick Whitesell". Fast Company.
  25. ^ "William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and Silver Lake Announce Strategic Partnership". PR Newswire. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  26. ^ Chon, Gina (May 2, 2012). "Silver Lake Buys Stake in WME Agency". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  27. ^ "William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and Silver Lake Announce Strategic Partnership". PR Newswire. May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  28. ^ Beltrone, Gabriel (December 10, 2012). "Droga's Delicious World". AdWeek.
  29. ^ Patten, Dominic (May 7, 2014). "UPDATE: WME Brass Welcome IMG Staffers As Acquisition Deal Closes". Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  30. ^ Zumberge, Marianne (January 21, 2015). "WME–IMG Acquires Global eSports Management Gaming Agency". Variety. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  31. ^ "WME | IMG acquires Professional Bull Riders, INC". Professional Bull Riders. Archived from the original on June 5, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  32. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 23, 2015). "Turner, WME/IMG Form E-Sports League, With TBS to Air Live Events". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  33. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (September 14, 2015). "WME/IMG Acquires Miss Universe Organization From Donald Trump". Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  34. ^ Belloni, Matthew (June 9, 2016). "WME-IMG Reveals New China Venture With Sequoia Capital and Tencent". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  35. ^ "U.F.C. Sells Itself for $4 Billion". The New York Times. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  36. ^ "Dana White on $4 billion UFC sale: 'Sport is going to the next level'". ESPN.com. ESPN. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  37. ^ "WME Acquires Literary Agency RWSG". Variety. August 22, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  38. ^ "Why Indie Agency RWSG Sold to WME: "It Felt Like a Crossroads"". The Hollywood Reporter. August 25, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  39. ^ McNary, Dave (August 30, 2017). "WME-IMG Buys Majority Stake in Film Sales-Finance Company Bloom". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  40. ^ a b "WME-IMG Renames Parent Company as Endeavor". Hollywood Reporter. October 9, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  41. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (October 16, 2017). "WME, IMG Combine Film and TV Sales Operations Under Endeavor Content Banner". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  42. ^ Kindelan, Katie; Ghebremedhin, Sabina (November 15, 2017). "Terry Crews names alleged sexual assaulter: 'I will not be shamed'". ABC News. ABC. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  43. ^ "What About Your Friends? Why Hollywood's Abandonment Of Terry Crews Is Unacceptable". BET. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  44. ^ Patten, Dominic (December 6, 2017). "Terry Crews Sues WME & "Rabid Dog" Adam Venit For Sexual Assault". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  45. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (February 27, 2018). "Ben Howard to Head New Production Company Third Coast Content". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  46. ^ Maheshwari, Sapna (April 3, 2019). "Accenture Is Buying Droga5, an Ad Agency, Making a Bet on Creativity". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  47. ^ Youngs, Jose (May 23, 2019). "UFC parent company Endeavor files papers to go public". MMA Fighting. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  48. ^ Morgan, Richard (May 23, 2019). "Endeavor Group, owner of Miss Universe Pageant and UFC, files for IPO". New York Post. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  49. ^ Watson, R. T. (May 23, 2019). "Endeavor Group, Owner of UFC and Miss Universe Pageant, Files for IPO". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  50. ^ Johnson, Bradley (May 27, 2019). "Droga5's implied price tag? $475 Million: Endeavor's IPO filing reveals clues about what Accenture paid". Advertising Age. 90 (11): 1.
  51. ^ "Endeavor Postpones Its IPO". The Hollywood Reporter. September 26, 2019. Retrieved September 26, 2019..
  52. ^ Farrell, Maureen (September 26, 2019). "Endeavor Pulls IPO After Peloton's Poor Debut". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  53. ^ Martin, Damon (September 26, 2019). "UFC owners at Endeavor bail on initial public offering after pulling stock set for Friday release". MMA Fighting. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  54. ^ Goldsmith, Dade Hayes,Jill; Hayes, Dade; Goldsmith, Jill (March 31, 2021). "Endeavor Resumes Quest For IPO After 18-Month Break". Deadline. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  55. ^ "Form S-1/A Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc". SEC Report. United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
  56. ^ Hayes, Dade (July 19, 2021). "Ursula Burns, Former CEO Of Xerox And Veon, Joins Endeavor Board". Deadline. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  57. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 27, 2021). "Endeavor to Buy OpenBet Sports-Gambling Company for $1.2 Billion". Variety.
  58. ^ "Wonderful Union". Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  59. ^ "Endeavor buys sports events company for $660 million as agencies diversify". Los Angeles Times. January 2, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]