Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company’s Origin Story

After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its IPO pricing of shares would land between $30 and $32. The stock will trade under the ticker symbol EDR.

Endeavor chiefs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell tell the Endeavor origin and growth story in a new 31-minute video designed to drum up support among investors for the IPO.

The video also features Endeavor president Mark Shapiro, chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John, human resources chief Kerry Chandler and chief financial officer Jason Lublin. The parent company of WME, IMG, UFC and other assets is planning the first IPO involving a talent agency in more than 40 years.

Endeavor executives emphasize the company’s growth potential and its continued appetite for M&A activity as drivers for the IPO.

“We’re going public to be more nimble and responsive for our clients and for us, and to give us capital and currency for M&A, which has and will continue to be central to our strategy,” Lublin says.

Endeavor’s expansion into content production and distribution operations — a source of friction for the company amid the current battle between the WGA and major talent agencies — was spurred by concerns that industry consolidation would eventually hurt the creative community, Whitesell says.

“We saw this disruption happening. Premium content was going to be more important than ever and that distribution was going to be commoditized,” says Whitesell, executive chairman of Endeavor. “If we could build a company to navigate all of that, we’d be in a position to help ourselves and our clients make more money than ever before.”

Emanuel, Endeavor’s CEO, details the epiphany he had to launch Endeavor as a talent agency after he was hit by a flat-bed truck while crossing the street after a client meeting in 1993, when he was working as a talent agent at ICM. Eighteen months later, in March 1995, Emanuel and three other ICM agents left and Endeavor was born.

“I wiggled my fingers and I wiggled my toes and realized I wasn’t paralyzed,” Emanuel says. He recalled thinking in that scary moment: “Life is not a dress rehearsal. It could end quickly. You’d better get started,” he says. 

Whitesell discusses his path to becoming a talent agent that began in his small-town home in Iowa and his love of movies. Whitesell met Emanuel in his first day on the job in the mailroom of InterTalent Agency, where Emanuel was a junior agent. Whitesell eventually moved on to CAA. After Endeavor launched, Emanuel called Whitesell every day at around 6:30 a.m. until he persuaded him to join Endeavor in early 2001.

Shapiro also tells a colorful story of his first meeting with Emanuel, which came on a long flight when Shapiro was heading content for ESPN. After Emanuel saw Shapiro typing away on his computer for three hours straight, he ordered the man sitting next to Shapiro to move to another seat so that Emanuel could question Shapiro about what he was doing.

Lublin touts Endeavor’s revenue and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization growth since 2016. Endeavor’s financial disclosures earlier this year generated mixed reviews from Wall Street as the company deals with the impact of a string of acquisitions. In the video, Lublin emphasizes the company’s 24% compound annual growth rate for revenue since 2016, hitting $3.6 billion in 2018. Adjusted EBITDA growth over the same period is also 24% to $551 million last year.

For the first half of 2019, Lublin cites more than $2 billion in revenue, up 36% over the year-ago period, and 21% year-over-year growth in adjusted EBITDA to $250 million.

The video details Endeavor’s breadth and depth with well-established assets including UFC and IMG and startup ventures such as Endeavor Audio and an online education initiative. Endeavor’s link to talent relationships via WME and IMG gives the company a competitive edge, or as Emanuel describes it: “A bird’s eye view on a global basis to know what’s out there.”

Saint John, who joined Endeavor last year after stints at Uber and Apple, said she was drawn to the company in part because of its culture of risk-taking. The company’s 7,000 employees are “empowered with the ability to try new things,” she says. “If you fail, that’s OK, just hurry up and get to the next thing.”

Toward the end of the video, Emanuel displays his trademark bravado in sizing up his competition in the various sectors where Endeavor is active: entertainment, sports, fashion, marketing, advertising and content sales. Because Endeavor’s operations encompass so many different areas of media and entertainment, he warns his competitors: “I’m way out in front of you by miles and miles.”

(Pictured: Endeavor’s Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel)

More Biz

  • Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime and Rolling Stone

    Showtime Documentary Films today announced a new limited docuseries profiling controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. Titled “SuperVillain” and inspired by the Rolling Stone feature written by Stephen Witt, the three-part series will trace how a New York City deli clerk named Daniel Hernandez became superstar rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine — who racked up 2.6 billion streams and [...]

  • Fader Label Logo

    Fader Label Signs Two New Acts, Boosts Staff

    The Fader Label, home to Clairo, Matt and Kim and others, announced two new signings today along with three new hires on its staff. Charlie Burg and Zachary Knowles have joined the label’s talent roster, while Carson Oberg has come aboard as general manager, Yasmine Panah as project manager and Josh Hymowitz as label coordinator. They [...]


    CBS-Viacom Merger Details Revealed, Shares to Trade on Nasdaq

    Negotiations between CBS and Viacom went down to the wire on the day the long-gestating transaction was finally sealed on Aug. 13. CBS Corp. and Viacom revealed the timeline of the merger talks in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday that runs more than 650 pages. Also Thursday, CBS and Viacom said the [...]

  • Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis

    Hipgnosis Songs Raises Another $295 Million

    Hot on the heels of its deal to acquire a catalog of 108 Timbaland copyrights, Hipgnosis Songs has raised another $295 million (£231 million) — putting its total to nearly $800 million to date. According to the announcement, a total of 231,000,000 C Shares have been placed by Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP  and J.P. Morgan [...]

  • Los Angeles Times

    L.A. Times Reaches Agreement With Guild

    The L.A. Times has reached a tentative agreement with the union that represents the bulk of its non-management employees, the paper announced Wednesday. The agreement follows more than a year of negotiations. The 475 reporters, copy editors, photographers and other staff covered by the agreement must still vote for ratification. Assuming it is approved, it [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Accused of Firing VP Who Complained of Gender Pay Gap

    A former vice president at AMC Theatres filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, accusing the company of firing her after she complained that she was paid far less than her male peers. Tonya Mangels, who was vice president of product marketing, said that in March 2018 her supervisor inadvertently sent her a spreadsheet that included [...]

  • Johnny Depp

    Johnny Depp Trial Over Location Manager's Assault Suit Delayed to May

    Update: On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Holly Fujie ordered the trial postponed. A new trial date was set for May 11, 2020. Johnny Depp is expected to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom next week for a trial on a lawsuit alleging that he punched a location manager during the 2017 shoot for “City of Lies.” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content