Endeavor, the holding company for WME, PBR, UFC and IMG, is "poised to get a significant investment from Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman," according to Donnelly & Waxman of THE WRAP. Bin Salman has been "seeking to open up Saudi Arabia to new forms of industry." The investment "would represent a minority share in the company" and would "come through the kingdom's public investment fund." The investment is "expected to close in the next two weeks" (THE WRAP, 1/15). BLOOMBERG's Nair, David, Sakoui & Martin reported "preliminary discussions" have called for Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund to pump "more than" $500M into Endeavor, which will help the agency "expand its operations." Sources said that the stake in Endeavor "could range" from 5-10%, "though the final size and valuation are still being negotiated." A source in August said that Endeavor was valued at $6.3B "including debt," while its equity was valued at $5B (BLOOMBERG, 1/16).
Russia-based telecom Mobile TeleSystems "entered esports by acquiring Praliss Enterprises, Gambit Esports’ parent company," according to Angelos Anastasopoulos of THE ESPORTS OBSERVER. The Russian corporation "called the move into the esports industry 'inevitable,' wanting to be a part of its future growth." MTS also "announced the launch of an esports division within the company’s innovation center," to push marketing initiatives and develop new products for gamers. The new division’s head will be Virtus.pro co-Founder Irina Semenova. Gambit Esports, which won the PGL Major Krakow 2017 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, will "retain all 16 players in its CS:GO, League of Legends, Dota 2, and FIFA rosters, while Konstantin Pikiner will continue to serve" as CEO and has been appointed MTS’ first esports director (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 1/16).
ON THE RISE: Anastasopoulos also reported esports management and technology firm Millennial Esports "concluded the first tranche of its non-public offering, announced last November." The Ontario-based company "sold more than 17 million equity units," each consisting of a company share and half of a common share two-year warrant, and raised $12.1M. Part of that amount was "used to complete the acquisition" of French publisher Eden Games’ majority stake. Millennial had agreed with Eden Games to buy 82.5% of the company shares for €11.3M ($13.87M). Eden Games "specializes in racing games, most notably the V-Rally series and Test Drive Unlimited" (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 1/16).
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