Financing for the $4 billion purchase of professional mixed martial arts organization UFC by WME IMG, Silver Lake Partners, KKR, and MSD Capital will include a $1.3 billion, seven-year covenant-lite term loan B and $500 million of unsecured notes, sources said. As expected, UFC will be financed on a stand-alone basis and will not result in a refinancing of talent agency WME IMG’s debt, sources said.
Goldman Sachs will be left lead on the loan deal and is expected to commence pre-marketing of the transaction shortly, while Deutsche Bank will be left lead on the bond deal, sources said. As noted earlier, the financing package has been underwritten by Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and KKR Capital Markets.
WME IMG will also serve as UFC’s operating partner. Silver Lake Partners and KKR will join WME IMG as new strategic investors, along with MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P., which will provide preferred equity financing, sources said.
UFC produces more than 40 live events annually and is the largest Pay-Per-View event provider in the world, broadcast in over 156 countries and territories, to nearly 1.1 billion television households worldwide, in 29 different languages. UFC continues to capitalize on digital distribution platforms via its wholly owned subscription over-the-top service, FIGHT PASS, delivering exclusive live events, thousands of fights on demand, and original content to viewers around the globe.
UFC parent Zuffa in 2014 repriced its then $475 million TLB due 2020 to L+300, with a 0.75% LIBOR floor. — Chris Donnelly
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