The New York Times reports that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been sold to a group of investors led by WME-IMG, a talent agency, alongside two powerhouse private equity firms Silver Lake and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and the investment firm of Michael S. Dell of Dell Computers (MSD Capital).
The sale is reportedly for $4 billion, which is a huge return for a league that was purchased for $2 million back in 2000. KKR and Silver Lake will be minority owners of UFC. The original owners are also expected to stay on board as minority investors.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the Kraft Group are reportedly one of the investors in WME-IMG, which will make Kraft a part-owner of UFC. Kraft has a nose for the golden goose and will look to increase UFC’s global footprint and possibly assist with the media exposure.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was spotted at UFC 200, the league’s marquee event this past week, with popstar Justin Timberlake.
Just a couple of UFC fans hanging out! @jtimberlake #UFC200 pic.twitter.com/CSRpNBXte1— #UFCSiouxFalls (@ufc) July 10, 2016
I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more Patriots players in the front row of UFC events moving forward.