UFC’s owners are in talks with multiple bidders to sell the MMA promotion company. The winning bid is expected to be as high as $4 billion.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that the front-running bid comes from Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, which owns minority shares in the Ironman triathlon competition and Spanish football club Athletico Madrid. The group also became the first Chinese company to take majority ownership of a Hollywood movie studio when it bought Legendary Entertainment in January for $3.5 billion.
UFC is currently owned by sports promotion company Zuffa LLC, which is helmed by Las Vegas entrepreneurs Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. The Fertitta brothers split an 81 percent share in UFC, with the league’s president Dana White owning a 9 percent stake and Abu Dhabi government-owned Flash Entertainment owning 10 percent. Zuffa bought UFC in 2001 for just $2 million and now enjoys an estimated annual revenue upwards of $200 million.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 11, 2016
“We’re always working on deals and our expansion globally. I’ve been saying since this thing came out, ‘No, we’re not for sale,'” White said to radio host Dan Patrick on Wednesday morning. “But let me tell you what: If somebody shows up with $4 billion, we can talk. We can definitely talk.”