Cashing out on combat sports is leading to a new venture for the Vegas-based duo.
The Fertitta brothers have kept a very low profile since selling the UFC last year for just over $4 billion. Frank and Lorenzo, along with front-man and president Dana White, were a fixture at events up until its sale to a new ownership group headed by talent agency WME|IMG. Fans and media alike were well accustomed to seeing them at fight cards and even providing interviews from time to time (although that applies more to Lorenzo Fertitta than to his brother Frank).
So, it stands to reason that after cashing in on their monumental investment there would be questions and speculation regarding the next chapter in the lives of two people so deeply associated with the world’s biggest MMA organization. They’ve already made investments in Red Rock Resorts last year, and now it looks like they’re ready to start a new business: Fertitta Capital.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Fertitta family has launched a firm that with an eye toward expanding their portfolio of investments and diversifying their bonds. Lorenzo Fertitta provided some insight as to what led to this new direction.
“It was, ‘We’ve sold the UFC, we’ve got some liquidity, what do we do next?’” said Lorenzo Fertitta, chairman of Fertitta Capital.
He said the creation of a direct-investing firm helps fill a void in the market: long-term, flexible capital. Mr. Fertitta, 48 years old, said his dissatisfaction with his courtship by would-be buyers earlier in UFC’s history sparked the thought.
Not only did the process of selling the UFC give them a look at how certain deals are made, but they also intend to bring along personnel that have helped them in the past to make different moves.
Fertitta Capital will take minority positions in companies, though controlling stakes and larger deals of up to $500 million are possible. Mr. Bidarian, UFC’s former chief financial officer, will run Fertitta Capital day-to-day with former SBE Entertainment Group president Sam Bakhshandehpour.
Even though they’ve left the fight game in the rear-view mirror, they’re far from retired. It only remains to be seen how this new direction pays off.