SBD/Morning Buzz

IMG Board Approves $2.4B Sale To WME/Silver Lake Group

IMG’s board last night approved a $2.4B sale of the company to William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners. The deal, which sources said will be announced today, immediately turns WME into a major player in sports by adding IMG’s sports consulting, college, tennis, golf and media businesses to its portfolio. It also gives IMG’s owner, Forstmann Little, a significant return on the $750M the private equity firm spent on IMG in '04.

WME beat out bids from CVC Capital and Carlyle Group for IMG. Evercore and Morgan Stanley managed the sale. Forstmann Little trustee Mark MacDougall oversaw the process. WME was willing to pay more than other finalists for IMG because co-CEO Ari Emanuel believes he can find a way to cut costs by finding synergies between the two companies. Successfully doing that will require blending two distinct cultures and two very different companies.

See today's issue of THE DAILY for more on this story.
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