UFC

Dana White.

Reports claim UFC in advanced talks to sell - asking price is $4 billion

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Over the past few years, the UFC has progressed from something of a minority organisation into one of the world's most watched, and discussed, sporting brands.

With interest in events inside the octagon at an all-time high, it looks like there is no shortage of people wanting to jump on board the bandwagon and get involved behind the scenes - and they are willing to pay big bucks to do so.

Bidding war

According to a report from ESPN's business reporter Darren Rovell on Tuesday night, UFC owners are actually currently in "advanced talks" to sell the organisation. The asking price? A cool $4 billion.

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Per Rovell's report:

"At least four bidders are believed to have submitted bids for the organization, including WME/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group and Dalian Wanda Group."

Dalian Wanda Group are believed to be the frontrunners at this stage to purchase the business which, back in 2001, Zuffa LLC bought for just $2 million.

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After a rapid rise in popularity, spearheaded by high-profile stars such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor over the past 18 months or so, the UFC's current owners are certainly in line to make a significant profit on their investment should they opt to sell at this stage.

Not so fast

However, if talks really are at an "advanced" stage, then it appears to be news to Dana White. The UFC's president, who owns 10 percent of the business, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that "the UFC is not for sale."

Brothers, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta are the majority owners of UFC at present with 80 percent of the company, whilst the Abu Dhabi government owns the remaining 10 percent of the business.

The Fertitta's wealth - believed to be around $1.5 billion each - pails into insignificance compared to the head of Dalian Wanda Group, however. Their chairman, Wang Jianlin, is worth a reported $35 billion and is the richest man in China.

CHINA-PEOPLE-JIANLIN

With conflicting reports on the subject of a $4 billion sale, it is unclear at this stage just how likely a change in ownership is for the UFC.

One thing the valuation does show, however, is the current status UFC holds within the sport and entertainment world.

With millions of fans tuning in to watch monthly pay-per-view events, and the likes of McGregor ensuring the brand remains in the headlines even when no one is fighting inside the octagon, interest in the sport is only increasing.

A new television deal set to begin in 2019 is also likely to add $250 million of annual revenue to the business - only adding to the attractive proposition of UFC ownership in 2016.

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Topics:
Dana White
UFC
Anderson Silva
Nate Diaz
Conor McGregor
Ronda Rousey

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