Headline Sports Business

IMG Worldwide Squashes Rumors Of Being Up For Sale

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.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.