ESPN sells majority stake in X Games to private equity firm and private company as part of deal to take over Ticketmaster
By Andrew Taylor, Reuters
January 11, 2019
SOCIAL MEDIA – The X Games brand from Ticketmaster will be bought by the private equity firm and private company Blackstone.
The X Games company will be taken private by US giant Blackstone for $1.3 billion, the company announced on Wednesday, saying it had sold 50% of its stake to the private equity firm and private company.
The deal is expected to value Ticketmaster at $3.5 billion, while the company said it would take on all the debt from the company.
Ticketmaster closed in January to buy the X Games brand in a deal that will see it become a publicly traded firm and sell the events in a move that, analysts say, signals the end of X Games competition.
By the end of 2016 the X Games brand had generated revenue of almost $400 million, according to the company, and has annual income of $80 to $120 million, and $120 million in ticket sales in 2017.
“This is the first step in our transformation into a global multi-channel, multi-platform media company,” a statement from Blackstone said.
The deal was also a “strategic” move for the company.
“This investment represents the first phase of our transformation to become a media company with a diversified reach and global reach,” the statement said. “The company is now well positioned to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the digital revolution.”
A spokesman for Ticketmaster said the company was not yet commenting further on the deal.
According to Blackstone, it “will operate Ticketmaster as an independent public company with a mission to build the ultimate global sports media platform”.
The company will receive $20 million in cash in the deal and provide $75 million for debt payments the company’s shares.
In a separate deal, Ticketmaster said it purchased the marketing rights to the annual X Games, X-Games and Olympic Games in 2019 and 2020, marking the second consecutive year that it has bought the rights to those shows.
Earlier this year, Ticketmaster said it would take over the rights to the X Games from Discovery Communications, which owned the rights to the events for 15 years before selling them to Ticketmaster.
X Games were once a major draw on