(Bloomberg) -- Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Group Holdings Inc. and Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC, are among US investors exploring investing in the PGA Tour, providing a possible alternative transaction to a pending deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
KKR & Co. co-founder Henry Kravis, who has an estimated net worth of $10.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is among other US investors considering investing in the PGA Tour, some of the people said.
Although some US investors prefer to lead a deal, it’s possible that they end up partnering with PIF, said some of the people, all of whom asked not to be identified discussing confidential information. Discussions are preliminary and no transaction is guaranteed, the people said.
“Throughout 2023, the PGA Tour has demonstrated its strength, reach and value as an enterprise. Our focus continues to be on finalizing an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, however, our negotiations have resulted in unsolicited interest from other investors,” a spokesman for Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida-based PGA said in a statement.
Representatives for Endeavor and Fenway Sports Group declined to comment. KKR didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Read More: PGA Tour Considers US Investors to Quell LIV Golf Deal Worries
In June, the PGA Tour agreed to a shock merger with the PIF and DP World Tour. The battle between the rivals had captivated fans and split players, after Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf threw down millions to lure some of the biggest players away from the traditional PGA Tour to its louder, brasher rival.
US lawmakers have been vocal about their opposition to a deal, despite assurances by PGA representatives in July that the Public Investment Fund would be only a minority investor in the combined entity. A transaction remains a long way from completion, with the sides yet to agree to financial terms, and make further concessions to address regulatory concerns.
Under the terms of its deal with the PGA Tour, PIF has the exclusive right to further invest in the new entity, including a right of first refusal on any capital invested.
Beverly Hills-based Endeavor, which has a market value of about $9.5 billion, has increasingly focused on sports. The company this month completed its takeover of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., combining two of the world’s most popular combat sports into a publicly traded entity known as TKO Group Holdings Inc.
Boston-based Fenway Sports Group, led by founder John W. Henry, Chairman Thomas C. Werner and President Mike Gordon, has backers including basketball star LeBron James, Baupost Group LLC Chief Executive Officer Seth Klarman and former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, along with Arctos Sports Partners and RedBird Capital Partners.
Fenway has existing ties to golf. One of its divisions, Fenway Sports Management, was involved in with the PGA Tour’s Deutsche Bank Championship, and in August signed an agreement with the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Fenway is also an investor in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy-backed TMRW Sports, the parent of TGL, a planned golf league developed by TMRW. Fenway owns the TGL Boston team.
--With assistance from Liana Baker.
(Updates with Kravis’ interest in the second paragraph.)
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