UFC to sell for around $4 billion to WME-IMG

Zuffa LLC will sell its UFC promotion company to a group led by talent giant WME-IMG for around $4 billion.

Announcement of the sale could come as early as Monday, according to the New York Times.

UFC president Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that his responsibilities within the promotion won’t change.

“President, owner, working my ass off,” White said. “Just doing it without my best friend and partners for 20 years.”

White classified the sale as “very” bittersweet, but assured fans they shouldn’t worry about the change in ownership.

“Exact opposite,” White said. “Sport is going to the next level.”

Lorenzo Fertitta, who with his brother Frank owned more than 80 percent of the business at last public acknowledgment, told CNN in December that the private company grossed about $600 million in revenue last year. Besides the Fertittas, who are each worth about $1.6 billion, according to Forbes, the company has two other minority investors: White and the Abu Dhabi government, which, under its Flash Entertainment arm, bought a 10 percent stake in the business for an undisclosed sum in 2010.

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. The winning bid was expected to be for a valuation between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN.com in May.

In May, sources with knowledge of the potential sale told ESPN that the bid book, prepared by boutique investment bank The Raine Group on behalf of Zuffa LLC, was sent to prospective bidders in late March.

The Raine Group has advised the UFC in the past, and it also has relationships with two of the bidders. WME-IMG was a founding investor in the investment bank.

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