On Saturday, I was told that Lagardère Unlimited was looking at the possibility of purchasing IMG Worldwide. I received the unsolicited tip from a credible source and quickly found another person who backed up the claim. While I went ahead and tweeted what I had heard, I was still questioning just how much, if at all, Lagardère had considered becoming involved with IMG, and whether Lagardère had discussed any intentions with the company. After all, Lagardère just recently acquired Gaylord Sports Management; a move that changed the balance of power in the world of sports business.
I immediately contacted Jim Gallagher, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at IMG Worldwide. Gallagher quickly put the rumor to bed. “There aren’t ANY conversations going on with Lagardère, or any other company or individual for that matter, regarding a purchase of IMG,” said Gallagher. “There’s a good reason for that…IMG is NOT for sale. We are focused on growing all of our businesses around the world. We set a goal of EBITDA of $146 million for 2011 and while audited numbers won’t be available until March, we are confident that we delivered the $146 million. Building on that credibility, we have budgeted $170 million for ’12 and $200 million for ’13. At that time we have several options.”
Meanwhile, Lagardère may still be looking to expand after its acquisition of Gaylord Sports, but I currently have no confirmation of same.