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Endeavor Lowers IPO Price Range to $26-$27, Reduces Volume of Shares for Sale

Endeavor Group Holdings has lowered the target price range for its IPO and reduced the number of shares that will be available for sale to the public as of Friday.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday, Endeavor said its target IPO price would fall between $26 and $27 a share, down from $30 to $32 as established last week. Endeavor has also cut the number of shares for sale to 15 million, from 19.4 million.

The move comes amid reports of a lukewarm response to Endeavor’s IPO pitch from institutional investors. A source close to the situation described Endeavor’s adjustment of the offering as an effort to be “conservative and realistic” about the current IPO environment.

The change in the target price means Endeavor will likely raise around $361 million from the IPO, down from the projected $550 million. The final IPO price is expected to be disclosed after the close of trading today, with the stock to debut Friday under the ticker symbol EDR. The underwriters have the option to buy another 2.2 million shares, which could bring the proceeds to $419 million.

Endeavor’s market cap is expected to start out at around $6.5 billion, with enterprise value pegged at $10 billion-$10.5 billion.

Endeavor’s limited free cash flow and heavy debt load have raised some red flags on Wall Street. On Wednesday, financial website Motley Fool did a deep dive on the IPO that questioned whether pressure on the company to stay within certain earnings-to-debt ratio per its loan covenants is a factor in the IPO timing. Endeavor has said the IPO proceeds will be used in part to pay down debt, which stands at about $4.6 billion.

“So while the company is portraying this offering as an opportunity for investors to get in on a modern large-scale entertainment platform, a skeptic might view the IPO as tapping the equity markets to bail the company out of a near-term debt payment it may or may not have expected,” analyst Billy Duberstein wrote for Motley Fool.

The parent company of UFC, WME, IMG and other holdings is positioning itself as a growth company that will leverage the new world order in media to profit through content ownership and by creating more lucrative opportunities for talent.

Endeavor’s collection of assets has been assembled through an acquisition spree during the past five years, which has left the company with a complicated balance sheet and debt obligations. The goal as asserted by Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel is to create a network effect for talent among the company’s disparate operations in entertainment, sports, fashion, content production, live events and licensing and merchandising.

“As the entertainment industry moves toward a closed ecosystem model with less transparency, our clients and businesses need more insight, resources and solutions than ever before,” Emanuel wrote in the letter included in the Endeavor prospectus filed in May. “We believe being a public company will only further accelerate our ability to look around corners and open up new categories and opportunities for those in the Endeavor network.” 

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