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Qatar-backed martial arts firm Group One eyeing US IPO: Sources

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – Group One, the company behind mixed martial arts brand One Championship, is considering a US initial public offering (IPO) after previously exploring a listing via a blank-cheque firm, according to people familiar with the matter.

Group One is changing its legal domicile to the Cayman Islands from its current one in Singapore as a step towards a potential US listing, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

The company plans to notify the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, the Singaporean regulator, as soon as possible, the people said.

The mixed martial arts firm in December raised US$150 million (S$206.6 million) in an equity financing round led by Guggenheim Investments and Qatar Investment Authority.

The round gave Group One a post-money valuation of US$1.35 billion, the people said.

Group One will use the funding from the December round to boost its growth strategy, including diversifying its content offerings and expand outside Asia, according to a press release.

The sports media platform broadcasts to more than 150 countries, and also includes gaming property One Esports, its website shows.

No specific timeline for a possible IPO has been set and the company could also explore other ways of financing, the people said.

“We are entering a new stage of global growth, which means structuring the company appropriately to take advantage of the various strategic opportunities ahead of us,” Group One president Teh Hua Fung said in an interview.

The parent company of One Championship had been considering options including seeking a listing in the United States via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, Bloomberg News reported last year.

The Singaporean sports media firm had picked Credit Suisse Group and Goldman Sachs Group to help prepare for the potential listing, the people said at the time.