Saudi Arabia is getting into the entertainment business.
According to a report from Bloomberg, a deal is expected to close this week that will see Saudi Arabia, through its sovereign wealth fund, invest $400 million into Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG), which is the parent company that owns the UFC.
The partnership has been rumored for some time, but it appears the deal is nearly closed as Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman traveled to the United States and met with President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
The Crown Prince is expected to return in April for a dinner hosted by Endeavor co-CEO Ari Emanuel in Los Angeles.
Saudi Arabia Buying a Small Stake in UFC Parent Company
The $400 million investment is reportedly worth seven-percent or less in total ownership of Endeavor, who not only owns the UFC, but also one of the largest talent agencies in the world, as well as the Professional Bullriders Association and the Miss Universe pageant.
The investment will also land Saudi Arabia a seat on the Endeavor international advisory board as well.
The Crown Prince has been diversifying investments on behalf of Saudi Arabia to move away from the country’s dependence on oil, while also opening up more entertainment avenues after movie theaters were banned there 35 years ago.
Could Investment Bring UFC Events to Saudi Arabia?
Part of this deal may also include additional assistance from Endeavor to stage events as well as working with athletes.
Of course, the UFC has longstanding ties with a company in Abu Dhabi, where the promotion held two separate events in the past. Following its purchase of the UFC in 2016, Endeavor reportedly received a separate investment that allowed them to buy out previous partners in Flash Entertainment, an Abu Dhabi based company.
While Saudi Arabia’s investment in Endeavor may have nothing to do with the UFC, it’s entirely possible that this could open up avenues for more events to land in the Middle East in the future.
World Wrestling Entertainment is currently planning a major show in Saudi Arabia and it’s entirely possible with this new deal that the UFC could land there one day soon as well.