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SBD/December 18, 2013/Finance
IMG Sale Comes With "Hefty Amount" Of Debt; Balance Of Power Shifting In Hollywood?
Published December 18, 2013
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RIPPLE EFFECT: In N.Y., Barnes & Gelles in a front-page piece write a combined IMG and WME "would significantly alter the balance of power in Hollywood's business landscape, creating a mega-agency that would leap ahead of its primary rival," CAA. WME co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell will need to "show that their own talents extend beyond hard bargaining to the leadership and organizational skills required by a vastly larger company" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/18). In L.A., Daniel Miller writes the deal for WME "ups its intense competition with CAA for supremacy in the representation business and is further evidence that the battle is moving beyond television and movies and into sports" (L.A. TIMES, 12/18). DEADLINE.com's Dominic Patten reported IMG "would function independently under the new structure, but its owners Forstmann Little would have no equity stake." The deal "would immediately boost WME’s sports representation profile to put rival CAA’s sports division in its crosshairs as the two Hollywood giants battle for supremacy on all fronts" (DEADLINE.com, 12/17). Innovative Sports & Entertainment Advisor and BOD member Bob Gutkowski said, "There are certainly content opportunities for William Morris. There are opportunities to build a television arm of IMG" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/17). CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin said Emanuel now is "running all of Hollywood, plus the whole world of sports," and this deal will "change the world of talent management" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 12/18). CNBC's Julia Boorstin said WME "will look to leverage IMG's big names and relationships across its entertainment and advertising business." Boorstin: "The scale of the combined company should yield more negotiating leverage across its deals" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 12/18).