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Volume 27 No. 10
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NFL Secures Larger Stake In On Location As Endeavor Acquisition Closes

Endeavor expects to close its acquisition of On Location Experiences on Thursday, sources said, in a deal structured to enhance the NFL’s stake in the hospitality agency it founded in '15. The deal values On Location at close to $700M, giving the NFL’s original partners -- RedBird Capital and Bruin Sports Capital -- a substantial return on their initial $70M combined investment. Fellow shareholder The Carlyle Group, which owned a much smaller minority stake, will exit as well. Contracts are expected to be finalized and signed Thursday, closing a transaction that was first discussed nearly a year ago but was delayed by several factors, including Endeavor’s aborted IPO in September. Multiple sources in recent days have described the deal as imminent.

In recent weeks, sources said, the NFL negotiated for a stronger minority position in the company once it becomes an Endeavor subsidiary. The NFL currently owns about 16%, but its goal in recent talks was to acquire more than 30% ownership, which would give each of the league's 32 teams about 1%. Its precise stake in the final deal is unknown, but a source characterized it as “significantly higher” than the current 16%. The NFL will have an opportunity to increase that stake in the future, sources said, though Endeavor would always maintain majority control. As the owner of On Location’s single-most important asset -- an annual package of Super Bowl tickets -- the NFL wanted to be sure it had a strategically important ownership share and seats on the board. As part of this deal, Endeavor secured a long-term extension to OLE's license to those tickets.

After the deal closes, Endeavor intends to appoint a new president to replace On Location CEO John Collins, who has run the company since he was hired from the NHL in December '15. Part of his hiring included an equity stake in the company, which has enjoyed tremendous growth in the four-plus years since it was restructured. Former Bloomberg Media Global Chief Revenue & Client Partnerships Officer Paul Caine is believed to be Endeavor’s choice to run On Location. The hospitality and live events business has grown from $23M in annual revenue in '14, when it was a division of the NFL, to more than $650M today. Along the way, it acquired Anthony Travel, PrimeSport and several entertainment and production agencies to spur growth. In the most recent Super Bowl in Atlanta last year, On Location reported revenue of $175M from the event.