New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is looking to expand his portfolio in a big way.
Despite denial from Dana White — the UFC is up for sale — with The Kraft Group and the Patriots owner being apart of the investment team for WME-IMG and Dalian Wanda Group, looking to purchase the MMA company.
Sources said that both bidding groups are still trying to completely finance the buyout, which would be for the entire company. Which company ultimately wins out might depend on the details of that financing. Sources say WME co-chair Ari Emanuel has been asking well-heeled investors to chip in $25 million to $50 million.
One of those investors that said yes, according to sources, was the Kraft Group, which owns the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution. A Kraft Group spokesman declined comment.
The WME-IMG bid with Dalian also is said to include China’s Tencent Holdings, one of the 10 largest internet companies in the world and ESPN’s official digital partner in the region. State-backed investment firm China Media Capital has been bankrolling many projects, including a five-year broadcast-rights deal with China’s top-tier soccer league worth $1.3 billion.
The Kraft Group owns the Patriots — along with the New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, and a few others.
It would be a huge haul for the Fertitta brother — who purchased the UFC in 2001 for $2 million. The have an 81 percent ownership stake in the company and are looking at potentially buying an NFL team.