SBD/September 26, 2013/Finance

Sources: First Round Of Bids To Buy IMG Are Due By Next Week

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The first round of bids to buy IMG are due next week, according to sources familiar with the sales plan for the company. Buyers interested in acquiring the sports and entertainment firm have been asked to submit interest documents between Monday and Wednesday. Initial offers will be reviewed by a top exec at Forstmann Little, the trustees of Ted Forstmann’s estate at the firm Akin Gump and the bankers working on the sale at Morgan Stanley and Evercore. They will narrow the list to a handful of serious buyers by mid-October and then push the auction process ahead by asking for a second round of bids from the selected serious buyers. Sources said that more than 35 potential buyers signed non-disclosure agreements that gave them access to IMG’s financial information. An array of private equity companies and agencies have taken an interest in the company, including KKR, CVC Capital Partners, Bain Capital, the Carlyle Group, Silver Lake and William Morris Endeavor, CAA and TPG Capital, among others. IMG is expected to attract an all-cash offer of more than $2B. The company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased from $146M in '11 to $175M last year, and are projected to exceed $200M this year, according to sources familiar with its financials. Blackstone Group ran a similar, auction-style sale for AEG last year and hoped to fetch $8B for the company, but it pulled the company off the market six months later after it failed to find a bidder willing to pay the asking price. A spokesperson for Abernathy MacGregor, a financial PR firm working on the IMG sale, declined to comment.
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