SBJ/Dec. 14, 2009/This Week's News

First acquisition for Horne’s firm is in MMA

Madison Avenue Sports & Entertainment, the agency started by former NHL executive Ed Horne and defense attorney Joe Tacopina, made its first acquisition two weeks ago, buying a mixed martial arts agency that represents six fighters.

The acquisition of New York-based agency Maxum Royalty was a mix of cash and equity. Under terms of the deal, Maxum founder Jim Barry becomes a partner in Madison Avenue Sports and will work with agency partner Stuart Kudman, a transactional attorney, on the agency’s mixed martial arts business.

“The growth of that sport is nothing short of phenomenal,” Horne said. “This is a sport we see real opportunity in.”

Tacopina added, “It’s the wild west. It’s chaos, and chaos breeds opportunity for guys who are organized and can be trailblazers. This (acquisition) gave us entree into the business.”

Maxum represents six fighters headlined by lightweight Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro. Ribeiro signed a multifight contract with Strikeforce and will be on a card with former football star Herschel Walker at the BankAtlantic Center on Jan. 30.

Barry said that he chose to sell the business to Madison Avenue Sports because of the “brand credibility,” resources and support the agency offered. He will work out of the agency’s New York office on Madison Avenue.

The mixed martial arts business is only the latest addition to Madison Avenue Sports, which began operations in early October. It also opened an office in Montreal and expanded its staff from two to 12 employees.

“Clearly, we’re going to look to expand the business as necessary and as opportunities come about,” Horne said. “We want to make sure we grow it properly and with some strategy behind it.”

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