UFC-owner Endeavor makes punchy market debut with $11.6 billion valuation

(Reuters) -Endeavor Group Holdings Inc’s second shot at going public turned out to be relatively successful after the owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was valued at $11.6 billion on its first day of trading.

Shares of the Beverly Hills, California-based company opened at $27 on the New York Stock Exchange, 12.5% above the offer price of $24.

Endeavor had abandoned its plans of floating its shares just a day before it was supposed to debut in 2019 as its initial public offering was met with tepid demand.

The company’s listing comes in the middle of a raging bull run in the U.S. capital markets, where a number of richly valued startups like cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global and South Korea’s Amazon equivalent Coupang have gone public amid a strong investor reception.

Other high-profile names that include Robinhood, Amazon-backed electric vehicle startup Rivian and Microsoft-backed Databricks are gearing up for a listing later this year.

Endeavor, which recently named Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk to its board, caters to a star-studded client base, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, through its talent agency, WME.

It has also financed movies including “La La Land” and “Just Mercy”.

Endeavor was founded in 1995 by Hollywood power broker Ari Emanuel, reportedly after being inspired by economist George Gilder’s book “Life After Television”, which predicted a disruption in the media industry.

Earlier this year, Endeavor disclosed plans to buy the remaining 49.9% stake in UFC from private-equity firms KKR and Silver Lake. It bought the controlling stake from casino moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta in 2016.

The company raised $511 million on Wednesday after its IPO was priced at the top end of the range.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities are the lead underwriters of the offering.

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