Headline Sports Business

Private Equity Firms Partner Up To Make Bid For IMG Worldwide

Billion dollar bids for IMG Worldwide expected to be submitted in the next couple of weeks.

Ever hear of that little company named IMG Worldwide?  You know, the one that Teddy Forstmann purchased for $750 million in 2004?  Well that company is expected to receive buyout bids at around $2 billion.  And the bids are predicted to start rolling in over the course of the next couple of weeks.

It has been documented that sports and entertainment conglomerates including William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency, Lagardere and Wasserman Media Group are interested in acquiring the assets (or at least part of them) and relationships of IMG Worldwide.  But a new non-sports and entertainment group may be in a position to out-bid them all and take-over the sports, fashion and marketing agency.

According to Reuters, private equity firm KKR & Co LP and New Mountain Capital LLC have partnered to put forth a bid in an effort to take over IMG Worldwide.  It would not be the first time a private equity company burst into the sports scene through a major acquisition.

In 2006, Louisville, Kentucky-based Blue Equity LLC entered the sports industry through the roll-up of various agencies including SFX Tennis, Bill Strickland’s basketball agency and Joel Segal’s football practice.  Years later, Lagardere Unlimited acquired BEST (Blue Entertainment Sports Television), which was the name of the sports and entertainment affiliate created by Blue Equity.  In and out in a few years with a monetary gain — that is the goal for many private equity companies.  KKR & Co LP and New Mountain Capital LLC may be thinking they can reap similar rewards as Blue Equity using a similar model.

KKR’s private equity practice has a global portfolio of over 80 companies, which operate in 17 industries and in 19 countries.  New Mountain Capital’s private equity division claims to generally invest $100 million-$500 million per transaction.  It may need to pony up a little more cash in order to put forward a competitive bid with KKR for the potential purchase of IMG.


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.