The private-equity that owns talent and marketing agency IMG has begun soliciting bids from potential suitors for the firm. According to the Wall Street Journal, private equity investors Forstmann Little & Co. have begun to distribute financial information about the agency, and will be seeking the first round of bids in mid-September with an anticipated sale price of about $2 billion.
Forstmann Little first acquired IMG in 2004 for $750 million and has since guided the company as it expanded its focus from representation of pro sports to a multi-faceted international sports and marketing company that now represents fashion models, musicians and other artists, as well as a robust marketing operation for professional and college sports programs.
Many industry analysts have been expecting Forstmann Little to move on a sale of the agency since the firm began to unwind following the death of one of Forstmann's co-founders, Theodore J. Forstmann in November, 2011.
Potential bidders for IMG include rival agencies Creative Artists Agency in partnership with private-equity investor TPG; William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, backed by private-equity firm Silver Lake. Also said to be weighing a bid are private equity firms Carlyle Group LP and CVC Capital Partners, the Wall Street Journal reported
Forstmann Little said that they have retained Morgan Stanley and Evercore Partners to conduct the strategic evaluation that may precede the sale. - Staff Writers