Endeavor, the publicly traded representation and entertainment powerhouse, is merging talent agency IMG’s events division with its sports and music ticketing and hospitality company On Location, the company announced Wednesday.
On Location senior executives will lead the combined business. Paul Caine, a former head of Bloomberg and advertising platform Magnite who has run On Location for two years, will serve as president of the new division. Jon Lavallee, who had been chief operating officer of ticketing company PrimeSport, acquired by On Location in 2017, will hold the title of chief financial officer of the combined company. No layoffs are expected as part of the restructuring, an Endeavor representative said. (The Beverly Hills-based company doesn’t break down employees by division, but has a total of 7,700 employees worldwide.)
Endeavor, led by Ari Emanuel, acquired On Location in a deal valued at $660 million in January 2020, months before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, ushering in a string of event cancellations in direct and a financial blow to the company. The company is the NFL’s hotel partner and works on Super Bowl-adjacent events — like this year’s Bud Light Music Fest in Los Angeles days before the big game — and has partnerships in place with other major leagues. , including the PGA, NCAA and its corporate sibling UFC. On Location is also a hospitality provider for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, Milan and Los Angeles.
The Events, Experiences and Rights division of Endeavour, the unit that houses On Location, is the conglomerate’s largest segment by quarterly revenue at $825.8 million for the first quarter, compared to the representation division. led by WME which recorded revenues of $357.3 million. On Location’s activations at the NCAA’s Super Bowl and Final Four and IMG’s Frieze LA arts festival and Miami Open tennis tournament were noted by the company in its May 12 earnings release as generating quarterly income for the unit.
Against the backdrop of this year’s inflation – consumer prices rose 8.6% across the board year-over-year – the live events sector is once again under scrutiny. Endeavor chairman Mark Shapiro was asked by Credit Suisse panel moderator Meghan Durkin at a conference in mid-June whether a slowdown was expected in live events given the inflated prices .
“Long term, it can’t go on like this,” Shapiro said on June 14, but also added, “We don’t see it in both the brands spending around our events and the actual customers who come to events. The Endeavor President noted that this year’s Super Bowl offering generated the largest revenue ever for On Location, and that events around the Golf Masters Tournament and NCAA Final Four had “exceeded expectations”.
Shapiro added, “When you move over to IMG and WME events, music festivals are well ahead of plan and are well ahead of 20% where we thought they would be at this point in terms of sales.” Although the executive added that Broadway, comedy shows and music lagged in terms of recovering from live events.
As part of a decade of rapid growth, the then-named WME acquired the sports, fashion and events-focused IMG in 2014 for a price of over $2 billion. IMG’s events division lists partnerships at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland event in the UK, London Fashion Week, Taste of London food festival, Rugby World Cup and Sneaker Con, among other major gatherings .
“Bringing these two dynamic companies together will serve to energize our consumer experiences within our extraordinary global events portfolio,” Shapiro said of the restructuring on Wednesday. “Paul and Jon have brilliantly led On Location’s post-pandemic resurgence and I am confident they will elevate these two highly complementary businesses with the full support of the Endeavor Network by their side.”
After a scuttled attempt in the fall of 2019, Endeavor went public on the New York Stock Exchange in late April last year. Since Jan. 3, the first trading day this year, the company’s shares have fallen about 40%, from 34.81 per share to 20.83 at the close of trading on June 28.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.