Endeavor’s China offshoot announced Thursday that it has acquired the Shanghai-headquartered digital marketing agency Mailman Group and its Seven League subsidiary. Prior reports estimate the deal to be valued at $60 million.
The move comes as Endeavor seeks to expand its footprint in the sports marketing space in China and the broader Asia-Pacific region. The deal was approved by local regulators earlier this year, after plans for the merger dating back to 2019 were pushed back after Endeavor’s failed attempt to go public that year and the subsequent pandemic.
“Mailman and Seven League are exceptionally well-respected content engines with a proven track record building fan engagement,” said Endeavor president Mark Shapiro. “We share their commitment to helping the world’s best sports brands, leagues and teams build global digital media businesses, and know their expertise will be a tremendous value add for our current and future clients.”
Mailman will become part of Endeavor’s cultural marketing agency, 160over90, by bringing in additional expertise in advertising, experiential, communications and sponsorships to work with clients such as AB InBev, Marriott International, HSBC and Visa.
Seven League will integrate into IMG’s media and events division, where it will boost efforts to serve federations and governing bodies via rights and distribution, sponsorship sales, client consultancy and broadcast production work.
“Our mission is to help rights holders build global digital media businesses, so joining Endeavor China is a dream next step,” said Mailman Group CEO Andrew Collins. “We have built a reputation of connecting fans with sports, and now that we are arms locked with 160over90 and IMG, we have an enormous platform to drive both the audiences, the brand equity and monetization for our clients.”
In April, California-based Endeavor raised more than $511 million in an IPO at the high end of its target range. It was valued then at $10.3 billion. The listing came after a failed attempt in 2019, when weak investor demand pushed the company to pull the plug on its $400 million offering just a day before it was set to go public.
Endeavor subsidiary Endeavor China was formed in 2016 through an investment group that included Sequoia Capital China, Tencent, and affiliates of FountainVest Partners. In China, the company has represented celebrities, actors and athletes; managed professional golf and tennis events such as the WGC HSBC Champions and the Shenzhen Open; negotiated media rights on behalf of entities like the Chinese Super League; operated mass participation events like the Beijing Triathalon; and consulted on events like Shenzhen Fashion Week.
Last week, it appointed XG Entertainment co-founder Sum Huang as its new chief executive. He will step into the role previously filled by Michael Ma, now NBA’s China CEO.
Mailman Group was founded in 1999, and has worked over the years to help international brands localize in China by creating brand presences for sports federations, leagues, teams and athletes on influential Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo and Douyin. The company works with clients including NHL, NBA, Under Armour, FIFA and Chelsea Football Club on digital strategy, transformation, digital marketing, social media, production, digital partnerships, PR and e-commerce. It employs around 200 people across 50 markets, with offices in Shanghai, London, Singapore and Los Angeles.