Johannesburg, South Africa – EFC, the southern hemisphere’s leading and one of the world’s most-watched mixed martial arts organisations, has made a groundbreaking change to the ownership structure of its business. For the first time in history, EFC is making it possible for its athletes and supporters, plus for investors, to own equity in the organisation.
“EFC is constantly evolving, and we are always looking for innovative ways to improve our product, strengthen our business and add value to our stakeholders,” states EFC President Cairo Howarth. “With this share offering, EFC is once again pioneering a new path by revolutionising sports league ownership in Africa, and with the projected growth in value that MMA and live sport has, there is no better time to do it than now.”
For over ten years the EFC organisation and sports league has grown as a privately owned business into the most-watched African sports property and brand on the continent. EFC content is now available on TV in over 130 million homes worldwide and has an estimated TV audience in Africa of over 200 million people per year.
In a unique and strategic move, 20% equity in the EFC business is being listed on a direct investment marketplace and made available to supporters to invest in. The projected R26m capital raise will be used by EFC to continue with its African expansion plan, benefitting from the ever-growing demand for MMA content around the world.
“The potential and value that the capital raise will bring to the growth of the business are vast,” added Howarth. “We have been a privately owned company since inception, and not only are we very optimistic about the new heights and milestones that this listing will allow us to achieve, but we are also really excited about the benefits that having our athletes and supporters as shareholders in the business will bring.”
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The EFC listing structure and share trading capabilities have been made possible with the recently signed agreement with Stack Advisory (Pty) Ltd, which in turn owns a South African based unlisted share trading platform named Stack Assets. Stack Assets is a trusted and leading peer-to-peer investment marketplace, which provides individual investors direct access to named assets.
“Stack Assets provides the perfect marketplace for investors to buy and sell their shares in EFC, easily and securely. Their team and technology is world-class, and their business is growing exponentially, delivering exactly what we require for this private equity listing,” says Howarth.
Stack Assets provides a platform – to fractionalize ownership and yield a tangible return on investment, whilst getting in on new and innovative developments, exciting opportunities and once-in-a-lifetime listings; like having a stake in EFC.
“We are extremely honoured to have partnered with such a forward-thinking and innovative brand like EFC. Our vision of enabling retail investing into great companies like the EFC is only enabled through us, it takes a market leader like EFC to take the bold steps in activating it. Our hats go off to the EFC community and we look forward to being part of the journey,” says Alex de Bruyn, co-founder of Stack Assets.
Sport is good business. Globally, top sports teams and leagues are valued in the billions of dollars. Global MMA organisations such as the UFC, the Las Vegas-based MMA promotion, has a valuation of over $7 billion. ONE Championship, the Asian based and focused promotion, has a $1 billion valuation and received funding of over $350m. The new EFC listing allows investors to own equity in EFC at a $7m valuation. EFC has low operating costs relative to other US and Asian based MMA organisations, and with the anticipated increase in revenue due to the recent broadcast expansion, the EFC valuation is expected to rise significantly.
Numerous sports teams globally have been successfully ‘owned by supporters’ for decades, such as football giants Real Madrid and Barcelona FC. The supporter ownership structure provides the teams with financial and marketing benefits, increasing fan loyalty and engagement. The ‘owners’ of these teams get to vote on some club decisions, but they do not get to benefit financially from the club’s profits. This is where the EFC share offering is different: in addition to exclusive owner benefits – with voting rights on specific bouts and performance bonus winners, plus access to exclusive content – EFC shareholders will also benefit financially from projected dividends and share value.
“We foresee a mixture of two types of investors,” stated Howarth. “Pure investors looking for a good return on their capital, investing in EFC for the potential cash upside. And then investors that are supporting the growth of MMA in Africa, supporting the athletes and the organisation. Investing in EFC makes it possible for African talent to compete and grow, providing opportunities to get to the likes of the UFC.”
With this pioneering ownership model, some past and current athletes are set to receive equity in the business in the form of bonuses and remuneration. It will provide them with an opportunity for long-term financial gain, allowing them to generate an income long after they are done competing professionally. As the sport (and EFC) grows on the continent, and the value of the business grows, the EFC athletes profit.
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“The ‘fighting for shares’ opportunity has been exceptionally well received and supported by EFC athletes,” stated EFC VP of talent Graeme Cartmell. “Athletes are keen to compete again, and to become shareholders in the business is something that was never an option for them previously. Now, as fellow owners alongside us in the business, we are all 100% aligned, working together to grow the brand and sport in Africa.”
A few of the current and past EFC champions were contacted for comment.
“To be competing for equity is awesome and I am ready to showcase my skills at EFC 85 on 8 May,” stated former EFC champion Boyd Allen. “Fans can expect my best, and I look forward to waking up the following day as a shareholder in the EFC organisation.”
“Supporting EFC gives the future African stars and up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Being a shareholder in EFC allows me to benefit financially as African MMA continues to grow,” stated former two-time EFC champion and current UFC athlete Dalcha Lungiambula. “EFC provided me with the platform to excel and to ultimately get signed to the UFC.”
“I have been to and competed at the leading MMA events all over the world, and EFC is up at the top,” stated another former two-time EFC champion and current UFC athlete Dricus du Plessis. “Look at what EFC has achieved in the past 10 years, how much the sport and the organisation have grown. Africa’s time is now! I intend to be an EFC shareholder for life.”
The release in equity allows supporters and investors to grow the sport and help the continent’s greatest athletes take on the world, plus partake in the upside of their equity value growth.
The equity in EFC is limited and will be made available to athletes and investors in four stages starting from R1,000 a share. 5,000 shares will be released in each stage, and it is anticipated that the share price will increase by 20% as each stage is reached.
Support, invest, and grow with the champions of the world! #ImIn – EFC Invested. Register to invest in EFC on the Stack Assets app now. More info at efcworldwide.com.