UFC transaction represents one of the largest ever for a professional sports organization.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley &McCloy LLP advised Zuffa, LLC and its controlling owners on the sale of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s premier professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. The acquisition was led by WME|IMG, Silver Lake Partners and KKR as new strategic investors, along with MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P.
Milbank corporate partners Ken Baronsky and Adam Moses led the Milbank team advising Zuffa and the selling owners.
Founded in 1993, and acquired by Zuffa in 2001, UFC has become one of the largest and fastest growing sports brands in the world, particularly among millennials. The organization 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. Milbank advised Zuffa on its original acquisition of UFC and throughout its ownership.
Mr. Baronsky said, “Since advising Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta on their acquisition of the UFC brand, it has been exciting to witness the evolution of the sport and the business over the last fifteen years. Congratulations to the Fertittas, Dana White and the whole Zuffa team. Milbank is very pleased to play a key role in this important milestone as UFC moves into the hands of an accomplished and talented new ownership group that shares a vision and passion for the sport and is committed to taking UFC to the next level.”
In addition to Messrs. Baronsky and Moses, the Milbank team advising Zuffa included corporate and finance attorneys Deborah Conrad, David Isenberg, Mark Castiglia, Jack Goodfriend and Mark Vible, tax attorneys Russ Kestenbaum and Max Goodman, employee benefits attorneys Mike Shah and James Beebe, and antitrust attorney Fiona Schaeffer.
The UFC transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.