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UFC owners adding over $1 billion in cash to buy out minority partners

WME-IMG — the powerhouse Hollywood agency who purchased the UFC for $4 billion last year — are about to add another huge chunk of cash to the company.

According to several reports, WME-IMG is about to add $1.1 billion in cash to their portfolio, bringing the company’s net worth up from $5.5 billion to $6.3 billion with the deal set to close in mid-August.

The money will be funded by an investment from a Canadian pension fund as well as a sovereign wealth fund from Singapore.

The cash infusion will serve several purposes but the biggest will allow WME-IMG to buy out minority partners who still own a stake in the UFC following the original sale in 2016.

There were no details on the specific minority partners, but the major one left over from the original ownership group led by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta is Flash Entertainment, the Abu Dhabi based company that purchased a 10-percent stake in the UFC back in 2010.

It would at least appear on paper that the infusion of cash could buy out those business partners, but at this point there’s no details on whether or not that’s the minority partner referenced in the release from Silver Lake Financial, the private equity firm that owns a big chunk of WME-IMG.

Other minority owners in the UFC include the Fertitta brothers as well as current UFC president Dana White.

Additionally, WME-IMG will use the $1.1 billion in additional capital to fund potential new acquisitions as well as allow senior executives at the company to take cash out.

There have long been rumors that WME-IMG was considering going public for a stock offering in either 2017 or 2018. This new influx of cash could stave off that possibility for the time being as executives would be able to cash in on their stake now rather than waiting for the company to go public.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.