By Zach Arnold | August 8, 2016
The fight business is littered with skeletons of dead corporation bankrolled by money marks but Gary Shaw took it to the next level. Gary Shaw spent over $50 million dollars in Elite XC but at least we got Kimbo Slice, Nick Diaz, and Gina Carano out of the deal. Megane Super, the Japanese eye glass company that bankrolled Japan’s top independent fight promotions in the early 90s, burned through tens of millions of dollars.
Never in Gary Shaw’s wildest dreams could he imagine a rival boxing promoter finding the mother of all honey holes and ending up with a result comparable to Rupert Murdoch’s $580 million dollar purchase of MySpace.
Noted fight writer and Pepperdine professor Paul Gift dropped a gigantic stink bomb on Monday:
According to Mr. Gift, Kansas hedge fund Waddell & Reed has supposedly lost $434 million dollars in their boxing venture with Al Haymon in a single year. Addendum: The professor stated that he is basing this off of the recent financials/valuations released by Waddell and off of claims from the shareholder derivative lawsuit.
Al Haymon settled a lawsuit with Bob Arum and has an antitrust lawsuit with Golden Boy which appears to be on the back-burner for the time being. While both of those lawsuits undoubtedly revealed interesting information in discovery for amended complaints, neither lawsuit posed the kind of serious threat to Al Haymon’s financial backing like the recently filed shareholder derivative lawsuit in Kansas against hedge fund Waddell & Reed.
The shareholder derivative lawsuit, which we wrote about three months ago, features some of the biggest legal heavyweights from New York City and Los Angeles fighting over Waddell & Reed shareholders petitioning a Kansas court to order the hedge fund to recover investor money set aside for Al Haymon’s assorted companies in an LLC shell called Media Group Holdings. The lawsuit claimed that Waddell & Reed put $925 million dollars in the LLC to do business with Haymon.
A major court hearing will take place on October 26th regarding a motion to dismiss the shareholder derivative lawsuit. If the motion to dismiss fails, a discovery & deposition bonanza will take place. Even under an agreement of confidentiality, the pressure will build on the hedge fund and Haymon.
Paul Gift’s bombshell of the hedge fund reportedly re-evaluating their investment in Al Haymon’s companies by $434 million dollars in a year is going to rattle some very important decision makers. The clock is ticking.
- How much longer can Al Haymon stick around on that kind of burn rate?
- If the shareholder derivative lawsuit survives or even if it fails in the beginning stages, how much longer can Al Haymon stick around before he completely alters his business format or files for bankruptcy protection?
- At what point does Haymon hit PPV and who does he end up partnering with?
- What is Al Haymon’s exit strategy if he can’t turn PBC around within the next 18 months?
- Can fighters contracted to Haymon get out of their contracts with him if PBC goes belly up?
The network television suits taking Haymon’s money bought into his dream of a UFC-style operation for boxing. They believed that Haymon was the guy who had the cash and the fighters to take out the establishment players in the boxing industry. With an alleged $925 million dollars in funding, there wasn’t much (if any) risk for networks to do business with Haymon. Haymon had the perfect marketing pitch for the suits and the masses — he was going to be the guy who would cure all of boxing’s political and business failures. Take Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya out in order to book the super fights that the public wasn’t getting.
And now reality has sat in, confirming the worst suspicions a lot of boxing fans had when Al Haymon made his push on network TV and ESPN. Antitrust lawsuits, allegations of Ali Act violations, and now a mother of a shareholder derivative lawsuit amidst Paul Gift’s claim that the hedge fund backing Haymon reportedly re-adjusted their investment valuation by $434 million dollars in one year on his venture.