Silver Lake is buying Endeavor’s recently assembled clutch of minor league baseball teams, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. The private equity giant will pay $280 million for Endeavor’s 10 minor league ballclubs, which are being sold less than a year after Endeavor began assembling its baseball portfolio.
Publicly traded Endeavor bought six clubs for an undisclosed price in December, then added three more clubs this spring for $47 million before spending another $17 million on a tenth team. The baseball properties, named Diamond Baseball Holdings, were an expansion of Endeavor’s burgeoning sports portfolio, led by mixed-martial arts league UFC.
Entry into baseball ownership soon raised objections from the Major League Baseball Players Association, which contended ownership of player agents in Endeavor’s WME Sports division meant the company had a conflict of interest.
“Ultimately our relationship with MLB and the MLBPA took priority given the importance of our overall agency business and our continued investment in our baseball representation practice within WME Sports,” said Mark Shapiro, Endeavor’s president, in a statement.
The sale is among two businesses that know each other well—Silver Lake owns 69% of the voting power of Endeavor, making it the largest shareholder in the company. Silver Lake also has sports investments in New Zealand Rugby and rapidly-growing Fanatics.
The sale is expected to close by year’s end. Diamond Baseball Holdings consist of teams all affiliated with MLB franchises: Iowa Cubs (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs); Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals); Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders (Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees); Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A affiliate of the New York Yankees); San Jose Giants (Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants); Gwinnett Stripers (Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves); Mississippi Braves (Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves); Rome Braves (High-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves); Augusta GreenJackets (Single-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves) and the Oklahoma City Dodgers (Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers).
Endeavor declined to comment. Silver Lake didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
(This story has been updated with details of Endeavor’s minor league portfolio in the second paragraph.)