Premium experiences company Legends is actively targeting an aggressive international expansion plan now that its transaction for global investment firm Sixth Street to take majority control is now complete.
The deal, valuing Legends at a reported $1.35bn (€1.12bn) including debt, that was announced last month has officially closed. And with that completion, Legends after nearly 13 years of operation is broadening its ambitions.
The company already holds some key relationships outside of its United States base, notably a broad-based pact with Spanish giant Real Madrid that saw the subsequent hire of Victoria Hawksley to lead international retail operations.
But Legends is now thinking even bigger, particularly as it looks ahead to a period beyond the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and a point when full attendance at stadiums and arenas is again possible.
“When we do come back, we want to be really well positioned to continue growing our international business and have that be a bigger and bigger part of our overall pie,” said Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends president and chief executive. “The fact that Sixth Street has that experience, has that presence internationally, certainly in the pan-European market as well as other locations around the world, it fits exactly our vision of where the business is and is going toward in the future. There’s going to be immense focus on our behalf to make sure that international business becomes a bigger piece of what we do.
“Given that we are a global platform and are focused on these unique experiences for global brands, Sixth Street really fits our DNA, and their experience on that global stage is really going to serve us well,” he said.
That targeted geographic expansion thematically continues a functional growth for Legends. The company started mainly as a concessions and hospitality outfit but over the years has expanded into numerous areas of sports and entertainment operations including naming rights and sponsorship sales and valuation, ticketing, merchandising, fundraising, and venue technology.
In the latest deal, Sixth Street will have a 51 per cent equity stake in Legends, with founding partners the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball and the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys holding minority positions. But even as those teams’ relative stakes have shifted, their involvement in the Legends business will not, Mirhashemi said.
“They’re going to be very much involved in the business going forward,” Mirhashemi said. “They’ve rolled their equity and they feel even more bullish about the business on a go-forward basis.”
The raising of as much as $500m in debt that was detailed shortly after the Sixth Street investment was announced has also closed, Mirhashemi said, and was part of the same overall recapitalization of the Legends.
The existing Legends management team that includes Mirhashemi and chief operating officer Mike Tomon will remain in place.