Endeavor Group Holdings, or simply Endeavor, formerly known as William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME or WME-IMG), is a holding company for talent and media agencies with offices in Beverly Hills, California, United States. The company was founded in April 2009 after the merger of the William Morris Agency and the Endeavor Agency. WME represents artists in movies, television, music, theatre, digital media, and publishing. It also represents the NFL and NHL. WME also leads a group which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship and owns Miss Universe. It is headed by CEO Ari Emanuel and executive chairman Patrick Whitesell.
|Industry||Talent and literary agencies|
|Predecessors||William Morris Agency|
Endeavor Talent Agency
in Beverly Hills, California, United States
|Ari Emanuel (CEO)|
Patrick Whitesell (Executive chairman)
Chris Liddell (CFO)
Professional Bull Riders
The Endeavor Talent Agency launched in 1995. By 2009, Endeavor it was one of the fastest-growing Hollywood talent agencies, with The New York Times singling out its reputation for "quick thinking, ferocity and barely bridled ambition".
William Morris Endeavor
On April 27, 2009, WMA and the Endeavor Talent Agency announced that they were forming William Morris Endeavor, or WME. Endeavor executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell were widely seen as the architects of the merger and quickly became the Co-CEOs of WME. Following the official announcement of the merger, nearly 100 WMA employees and former board members were let go. One of those leaving was Jim Wiatt, who came to WMA in 1999 from International Creative Management, where he was Vice-Chairman. He had joined WMA as president and co-chief executive officers, and had risen to board Chairman. Following the merger, WME moved its headquarters into the offices of Endeavor at 9601 Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Beverly Hills.
In 2011, Emanuel was quoted in a Financial Times profile about the company saying, "We built a culture where people are rewarded for taking risks." Emanuel and Whitesell implemented several leadership strategies to boost the productivity of their agents, most notably, the "Farmhouse" training program.
WME grew to include several subsidiary companies and expanded divisions. Fortune named co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell to their 2010 "Businessperson of the Year" list, acknowledging their corporate growth strategies. Emanuel had previously been recognized as a 21st-century "super agent" by both The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, as well as an Advertising Age "Influencer."
In July 2011, the company and its foundation created Camp Summer Eagle, which provides donations and activities for schoolchildren at Foster Elementary in Compton, California.
Shortly after the merger, WME helped launch the investment group Raine, which aligned the company with properties like Vice Media and Zumba Fitness. In 2010, WME partnered with RED Interactive, a digital advertising agency. Two years later, they formed an alliance with the social media management firm TheAudience, partnering with digital entrepreneur Sean Parker and executing social campaigns for properties like the Seth MacFarlane motion picture Ted and the Coachella Music Festival. 2013 brought a strategic partnership between WME and creative music agency Jingle Punks, which creates, publishes and licenses music. WME is also an investor in the e-commerce platform [OpenSky], which was named one of America's "Most Promising Companies" by Forbes. In 2013, Whitesell and Emanuel were profiled in Fast Company, highlighting the company's digital growth.
On May 2, 2012, WME and Silver Lake, a technology-focused private equity firm based in Silicon Valley, signed an agreement for Silver Lake to acquire a 31% minority stake in the agency. A new executive committee, consisting of Co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell and Silver Lake Partners Managing Director Egon Durban, leads the company's growth strategy and investment activities. In July 2013, WME acquired a minority stake in the creative agency Droga5. The partnership combines the companies’ advertising and entertainment resources.
On December 18, 2013, WME and Silver Lake announced the acquisition of IMG for $2.4 billion. WME’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell will serve as co-CEOs. On January 21, 2015, it was announced that WME had acquired Global eSports Management (GEM), an international agency representing various esports and professional video game players and personalities. In April 2015 they bought Professional Bull Riders "WME | IMG acquires Professional Bull Riders, INC". Professional Bull Riders. Archived from the original on June 5, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2017.</ref> On September 23, 2015 it was announced that WME/IMG would be partnering with Turner Broadcasting to create a televised esports league, the ELeague.
On September 14, 2015, WME acquired from Donald Trump the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants and related content. The organization sells television rights to the pageants in other countries. Financial details were not disclosed.
On July 9, 2016, Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship, was sold to a group led by WME-IMG, its owner Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital, for $4.025 billion, the largest-ever acquisition in the sports industry. On August 22, 2016, WME acquired the literary agency Rabineau Wachter Sanford & Gillett (RWSG); its co-founders, Sylvie Rabineau and Jill Holwager Gillett, head a division of WME involved in the coordination of screen adaptations of literature. WME/IMG purchased in August 2017 a majority stake in Bloom, a film finance and sales company lead by Ken Kao and Alex Walton.
WME-IMG reorganized in October 2017 with the parent company being renamed from WME-IMG to Endeavor. Ari Emanuel became Endeavor CEO and Patrick Whitesell became Endeavor executive chairman. The general talent agency retained the WME name as the sports agency retained the IMG name.
In October 2017, Endeavor Content was formed from the WME's and IMG's film financing and scripted TV sales units, WME’s advisory group for film financiers and content producers and Bloom, which will continue to operate autonomously. Appointed as co-presidents of Endeavor Content were Graham Taylor and Chris Rice with additional hires of Negeen Yazdi as senior vice president of film and Joe Hipps as senior vice president of television.
On November 15, 2017, actor Terry Crews stated on Good Morning America that Adam Venit, head of WME's motion picture department, had squeezed Crews' genitals with his hand at an industry party in February 2016. WME responded they had suspended Venit following an internal investigation, on November 27, 2017 it was announced Venit would return to work after a month's unpaid leave. On December 4, 2017 lawyers acting on behalf of Terry Crews filed suit against WME and Venit stating "It is now time to hold Venit accountable for his sexual predatory behavior and to hold WME accountable for its conduct in condoning, ratifying, and encouraging Venit's sexual predatory behavior".
Third Coast Content, a faith and family audiences production and publishing company, was founded in February 2018 by veteran film executive Ben Howard as CEO with Endeavor Content as an investor and as its provider of sales and advisory services. In April 2019, Droga5 was acquired by Accenture.
Filing Initial public offering (IPO)
On May 24, 2019 Endeavor Group (EDR) filed the initial public offering (IPO) paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would have valued the company at $7.6 billion. The form detailed Endeavor's revenue was $3.61 billion in 2018 with a net income of $100.1 million after adjustments, and potential risks involved of being potentially sued (1) “over alleged long-term neurocognitive impairment arising from concussions”, (2) collective bargaining to unionize the MMA athletes and (3) "five related class-action lawsuits filed against it alleging that UFC violated Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 by monopolizing the alleged market for elite professional MMA athletes’ services".
On September 26th 2019, Endeavor Group announced it cancelled its planned IPO that was set for September 27th. Endeavor Group said in a statement "Endeavor will continue to evaluate the timing for the proposed offering as market conditions develop"The Wall Street Journal reported the under performance of the recent IPO for Peloton was a contributing factor. As is an ongoing lawsuit with several former UFC fighters.
- Endeavor (June 2016) Chinese subsidiary formed with the investments from Sequoia Capital, Tencent and FountainVest
- Endeavor Content (October 2017) film financing and scripted TV sales
- The Miss Universe Organization, the pageant company
- Frieze, the fine arts and media company
- Talent agencies
- WME, the talent agency
- Dixon Talent, late-night luminaries and other hosts
- IMG Worldwide, the sports, fashion and entertainment
- The Wall Group, stylists and designers
- Sports organizations
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