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SBD Global/May 8, 2013/Finance

IMG Reportedly Rejects A Combined $2B Bid From Colony Capital, Qatari Royals

IMG this year "drew an unsolicited bid" of more than $2B from California private equity firm Colony Capital, according to sources cited by Gelles, Edgecliffe-Johnson & Garrahan of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Colony's bid was "dismissed because Forstmann Little plans to run an auction so as to obtain the highest price for IMG." The Colony offer was "made in co-operation with funds linked to the Qatari royal family." Colony Founder, Chair & CEO Tom Barrack "worked with the Qataris on a bid for AEG." Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and talent agency William Morris Endeavor are "thought likely to participate in the auction, as is a similar group comprising private equity firm TPG and talent agency Creative Artists Agency." Meanwhile, Former Yahoo Chair & CEO Terry Semel is "said to be prepared to bid this time." Reliance Chair & CEO Mukesh Ambani, India’s "richest man," is also said to be "watching the process closely." His group "has a joint venture with IMG and he was close" to the late Theodore Forstmann. Other "potential bidders" include Guggenheim Partners and Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle (FT, 5/7).

ON YOUR MARK: FORBES' Naazneen Karmali reported Ambani, "has reportedly joined the race to acquire IMG Worldwide," which "is expected to fetch" up to $3B. What’s working in Ambani’s favor is that his Reliance Industries "already has a joint venture with IMG," one of four such partnerships the agency has outside the U.S. No official confirmation from either IMG or Reliance "is as yet forthcoming" (FORBES, 5/5).
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