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Endeavor postpones IPO

By | Published on Friday 27 September 2019


The owner of the WME booking agency, Endeavor, has cancelled – or at least postponed – plans to float on the stock market. The company’s IPO – announced in May – had been expected imminently, with trading on the New York Stock Exchange potentially beginning today. In a statement, the company said that it “will continue to evaluate the timing for the proposed offering as market conditions develop”.

Prior to pulling plans to float yesterday, Endeavor had already scaled back the scale of its IPO earlier in the day, reducing the number of shares it planned to offer and their price range. Had the IPO taken place, this move would have seen the potential funds raised fall by around a third to a figure of up to $465.8 million, according to the Financial Times. Just over a week previously the firm had stated that it expected to raise up to $712 million.

The cancellation comes in the same month that shared work space company WeWork also pulled its IPO, while sports equipment maker Peloton – which faces ongoing music licensing issues – saw its share price drop 11% on its first day of trading yesterday. This and Endeavor’s decision to hold off going public, analysts have suggested, shows a growing concern among investors about the high valuations these various companies have received in the run up to their respective listings.

Endeavor – which has a broad portfolio of companies working across the entertainment business, including in sport, fashion and art as well as music – is also currently caught up in various legal issues. WME – along with some other talent agencies – are involved in a legal battle with the Writers Guild Of America over the fees they take when matching writers up with TV projects. Endeavor specifically also faces several lawsuits from fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which it also owns.

These lawsuits were ongoing previously, so are unlikely to be the reason that the IPO was halted, but the WGA moved quickly to put out a statement saying: “Reports that the Endeavor IPO has been withdrawn show that investors didn’t buy the company’s conflicted business practices”.

As for when the company might try again to start publicly trading shares, this remains unclear.