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Endeavor CEO toasts ‘best year’ for music touring

The company says live music is "on fire" as the WME parent posted its financial results for the second quarter of 2023

By James Hanley on 09 Aug 2023

Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor

Ari Emanuel

Endeavor says live music is “on fire” after the WME parent company posted revenue of $1.436 billion (€1.3bn) for the second quarter of 2023.

Net income hit $666.5m and adjusted EBITDA was $304.9m, while Q2 revenue for Endeavor’s representation segment was $381.1 million, up 6.5% on the same period in 2022, with year-over-year growth across all four reporting segments.

WME, whose roster includes Justin Timberlake, Adele, Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, The Killers, Bjork, Foo Fighters, Stormzy, St Vincent, Shakira and Snoop Dogg, is having its “best year for music touring”, according to CEO Ari Emanuel.

“Broadway is coming back strong, comedy tours are selling out and we’re having our best year for music touring,” Emanuel told investors during the firm’s Q2 earnings call. “In country music in particular, more than 100 WME clients participated in nearly 200 performance slots throughout CMA Fest Week in June.”

Meanwhile, the $1.25bn sale of its IMG Academy business has allowed the company to begin share buybacks of up to $300 million of Class A common stock in the third quarter.

Emanuel also delivered an update on TKO Group Holdings, the new publicly listed company consisting of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), saying the deal is expected to close in mid-to-late September 2023.

“We delivered solid results this quarter at Endeavor and are closing in on the launch of TKO Group Holdings”

“We delivered solid results this quarter at Endeavor and are closing in on the launch of TKO Group Holdings,” he says. “Our share repurchase plan and dividend payment initiatives will begin in the third quarter, and we remain focused on maintaining prudent capital allocation and delivering long term sustainable growth for the company.”

Elsewhere, Endeavor CFO Jason Lublin estimated the Hollywood writers’ dispute would cost the company $25m a month in revenue.

“This is the first time in 63 years both WGA and SAG-AFTRA are striking simultaneously,” he said. “We currently estimate the strikes will adversely impact our revenue by approximately $25 million per month on average, which largely flows through to adjusted EBITDA.

“However, without knowing the scope, duration and shape of the eventual recovery, especially given that the SAG-AFTRA strike is a relatively new development, having taken effect only on July 14, it would be premature to speculate the aggregate dollar impact for the balance of the calendar year.”

Cash and cash equivalents totalled $1.616bn compared to $718.7m at 31 March, 2023, while total debt was $5.110bn at 30 June 2023, compared to $5.151 billion at 31 March 2023.


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