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11th May 2016

UFC owners reportedly in advanced talks to sell the company

The winning bid could top $4 billion.

Conor Heneghan

UFC owners are in advanced talks to sell the organisation with at least four parties believed to have submitted bids, according to a report on ESPN.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN that WME/IMG, China Media Capital, The Blackstone Group and Dalian Wanda Group have all submitted bids for the UFC, with the winning bid expected to be valued somewhere in the region of $3.5 – $4 billion.

The reports have been denied by UFC President Dana White, who told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “the UFC is not for sale”.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: UFC president Dana White appears during a media availability for UFC 200 at Madison Square Garden on April 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Dave Sholler, vice president of public relations and athlete marketing for the UFC, said: “As a private company, we don’t discuss speculation or rumours related to our business.”

According to ESPN, Zuffa LLC, which bought the UFC for $2 million in 2001, are being represented in negotiations by Goldman Sachs, who have advised potential investors that the UFC earned $200-$250 million in 2015 and that a new TV deal in 2019 could bring in an additional $250 million in revenue.

WUHAN, CHINA - DECEMBER 20: (CHINA OUT) Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group, attends press conference of Golbal Premiere of Han Show and Grand Opening of the Wanda Movie Park on December 20, 2014 in Wuhan, Hubei province of China. "Han Show" is a super stage performance programme blended performance arts as stage plays, acrobatics, water Ballet and diving. "Han Show" theater was co-founded by Wuhan Wanda Dragone Entertainment Co.,Ltd. and Dragone Entertainment GmbH which marked a leading step of China Wanda Group in international cultural industry. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Dalian Wanda Group, a China-based conglomerate, are believed to be the favourites to buy the UFC should any deal go ahead.

Chairman of the group, Wang Jianlin (above), is China’s richest man and, according to Forbes Magazine, is worth nearly $35 billion.