BEVERLY HILLS: WME-IMG is set to acquire the MMA organization UFC in a deal valued at $4 billion.

Silver Lake Partners and KKR join WME-IMG as new strategic investors, along with MSD Capital and MSD Partners.

The UFC organization produces more than 40 live events annually and is the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world, broadcast in over 156 countries and territories to nearly 1.1 billion television households worldwide. Its wholly-owned subscription OTT service, FIGHT PASS, delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content.

Upon closing, Lorenzo Fertitta, the chairman and CEO of UFC, will step down from day-to-day operations, but Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta will both retain a minority interest in the organization.

“We’ve been fortunate over the years to represent UFC and a number of its remarkable athletes,” said WME-IMG Co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell. “It’s been exciting to watch the organization’s incredible growth over the last decade under the leadership of the Fertitta brothers, Dana White and their dedicated team. We’re now committed to pursuing new opportunities for UFC and its talented athletes to ensure the sport’s continued growth and success on a global scale.”

“No other sport compares to UFC,” commented Dana White, UFC’s president, who will continue in that role. “Our goal has always been to put on the biggest and the best fights for our fans, and to make this the biggest sport in the world. I’m looking forward to working with WME-IMG to continue to take this sport to the next level.”

Lorenzo J. Fertitta said: “We’re confident that the new ownership team of WME-IMG, with whom we’ve built a strong relationship over the last several years, is committed to accelerating UFC’s global growth. Most importantly, our new owners share the same vision and passion for this organization and its athletes.”