Frieze parent company pulls stock market launch

Photo: Linda Nylind. Courtesy Linda Nylind/Frieze

Endeavor, the parent company of the Frieze art fair and media group, has pulled its planned stock market launch. The company, which in addition to being Hollywood’s biggest talent agency, having swallowed the William Morris Agency and sports agency IMG, also owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship, New York Fashion Week and the Miss Universe pageant, had planned to float on Friday with the target of raising more than $600 million. As the IPO approached however the plan to sell 19.3 million shares in a price range of between $30 and $32 was being downgraded to a target of $25–$26 a share, and on late Thursday the Financial Times quoted an anonymous source as saying the deal was completely off, for now, due to 'limited investor interest'. On Friday The New York Post quoted one insider who said bids were coming in as low at $20.

Endeavor, helmed by Ari Emanuel, took a majority 70 per cent stake in Frieze in 2016, with Frieze founders Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp having the option to get rid their remaining stake in the company at the end of fiscal year 2020.

In March Endeavor was forced to cancel a $400 million cash injection from the Saudi Arabian government's investment fund, fearing negative publicity following the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Frieze London, the biggest of the company's three fairs, opens next week.

27 September 2019