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tennischick
Sep 30th, 2004, 10:40 PM
Sports marketing firm IMG bought

US buyout firm Forstmann Little is to buy giant sports and lifestyle management company IMG.


The firm is being acquired from trusts set up by IMG founder, Mark McCormack, who died in May 2003, and from the family of IMG vice-chair Arthur Lafave.

IMG was founded in the early 1960s and pioneered the sports marketing industry, representing golfers, racing drivers, tennis players and others.

After a heart attack, Mr McCormack, 72, went into a coma, and never recovered.

"Mark McCormack built IMG into a global brand that is in a class by itself," said Theodore J Forstmann, senior partner at Forstmann Little.

"Nobody else even comes close in client relationships - or in sporting event management and sports television production and licensing."

Forstmann Little will finance the acquisition entirely with its own capital, but the purchase price was not disclosed.

Industry sources said it was about $700m (£387m).

After the acquisition, senior management of IMG will have an equity ownership in the company.

The McCormack family trust also intends to retain a continuing interest in IMG.

Televised sports

IMG has a staff of about 2,200 in about 60 offices in more than 25 countries.

Through its TWI division, the firm is also the world's largest independent producer of televised sports programming and distributor of sports television rights.

"As with all of our investments, we intend to partner with management and to put in place a world-class board of directors that will help IMG grow its business in the years ahead," said Mr Forstmann.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, is subject to regulatory approval.

Forstmann Little has made 30 acquisitions since 1978 and "significant equity investments".

In the US its best-known investments include Gulfstream Aerospace, General Instrument and Ziff-Davis Publishing.

IMG's Tennis Clients
Jennifer Capriati
Chris Evert
John McEnroe
Pete Sampras
Maria Sharapova
Venus Williams

bbcworld.com