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Celebrity manager WME-IMG to buy mixed martial arts organizer UFC: Reuters

Sports and celebrity talent management agency WME-IMG said it would buy Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which organizes mixed martial arts events, in a deal backed by private equity firms Silver Lake Partners LP and KKR & Co LP.

The deal is valued at about $4 billion, Reuters reported earlier on Monday, citing a source.

WME-IMG’s statement did not provide the terms of the deal.

The buyout group also includes investment firms owned by billionaire Michael Dell and his family.

UFC, founded in 1993, is one of the largest sports brands in the world and it produces more than 40 live events annually.

The company’s parent, Zuffa LLC, is controlled by casino moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, who will have a passive minority stake in UFC after the transaction closes.

UFC Chief Executive and Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta will no longer be involved in the company’s day-to-day operations and Dana White will remain its president, WME-IMG said.

Photo: Ronda Rousey (right) of U.S fights with Bethe Correia of Brazil during their Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) match, a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Reuters