Thu, Jul 14, 2016 - Page 16 News List

ONE secures major funding from investment firm

By Adrian Hardie  /  Staff reporter

Asian mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion ONE Championship yesterday told the Taipei Times that it has received investment from Heliconia Capital Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings, in the “significant eight figures range,” which it said would put the organization on track for a US$1 billion valuation within 12 to 18 months.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of Monday’s announcement that the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which casino executives Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta bought for US$2 million in 2001, had been sold to talent agency WME-IMG for a reported US$4 billion.

ONE is Asia’s biggest MMA organization and boasts Taiwanese fighters such as heavyweight contender Paul Cheng, Taiwan’s first female pro MMA fighter Jenny Huang, Taiwanese pioneer Sung Ming-yen and financier-turned-fighter Jeff Huang.

ONE said it plans to use the new funding to continue its expansion across Asia and increase the number of events it stages, especially in China.

“In less than five years, ONE Championship has grown into a global brand with a broadcast reach to over 1 billion homes across 118 countries around the world,” ONE chairman Chatri Sityodtong said in a news release. “We have consistently broken attendance records at many of the largest stadiums across Asia. I expect to see an acceleration in business fundamentals across the board for ONE Championship... As Asia’s largest sports media property and the second-largest MMA organization in the world, ONE Championship will benefit significantly from Heliconia’s ecosystem, network and resources.”

“We believe ONE Championship can potentially be the next big thing for consumers in Asia,” Heliconia chief executive Derek Lau said in the release. “They have the right product for Asia, they understand Asia and know how to monetise the value proposition in various ways in the New Economy. We are really excited to see ONE Championship taking the lead in the coming years to grow the sports media and entertainment industry in Asia.”

“I believe this partnership marks the beginning of a long and fruitful journey to bring ONE Championship to the rest of the world,” ONE chief executive Victor Cui added. “Heliconia is a well-respected investment firm with the expertise, resources and contacts across Asia. For us, this investment by Heliconia represents a strong vote of confidence and a belief in the value that ONE Championship can bring. This partnership will unlock additional markets and opportunities for ONE Championship.”

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