IMG Worldwide was purchased today by William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners for $2.3 billion. The purchase of the talent representation and sports marketing company will shift the balance of power among major players in the business of sports.
WME Solidifies Market Strength With IMG purchase
WME is the product of a merger between Endeavor and William Morris Agency in 2009. The two companies merged together to create a superpower that would rival Creative Artist Agency (CAA) in the entertainment world. When the two companies joined they operated in publishing, music, motion picture, and television, but there was question whether or not they would work in sports.
Most wondered if WME would create an athlete representation division from scratch or if they would pay top dollar salaries for the most respected names in the sports business. WME is no stranger to sports representation however, as the William Morris Agency once managed Alex Rodriguez.
With the purchase of IMG, WME can now compete in all areas with CAA and other sports and entertainment agencies. CAA, who was also in the running to purchase IMG, will now be competing to not only keep its clients but also its main personnel.
Changes To The Sports Business Landscape
The purchase of IMG does change the balance of power in the sports world. Companies like CAA had been progressively growing, not expecting WME to make such a splash in the industry. This purchase is sure to shake up the world of sports.
“IMG has incredible strategic value to WME. The brand’s global reach, outstanding management team and leadership across sports, fashion and media are a strong complement to our business,” said WME CoCEOs Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel.
IMGs Crown Jewel
IMG’s crown jewel is IMG College, which buys the media, merchandising and licensing rights of colleges and guarantees the schools a certain payment. The effects of this acquisition on IMG’s current clients have yet to be seen. However together WME and IMG will have an unequalled client roster to go along with an extensive relationship with sponsors, brands, broadcasters and marquee assets in sports, events, film/television and fashion.