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SBD Global/May 1, 2014/Finance

WME Expected To Close IMG Acquisition As Soon As Thursday

William Morris Endeavor is expected to close its $2.375B acquisition of IMG as soon as Thursday, according to sources. The goal is to close the deal tomorrow, sources said, but talks on a few minor issues could push the closing into early next week. There is nothing at this point that is expected to derail the agreement, and WME-IMG is expected to begin operating as a combined company next week with a valuation of $3.5B. After the deal closes, WME is expected to begin cutting costs from IMG’s business. It plans to cut a total of $151M in the first 18 months of ownership, with $14M of that coming in the first six months, according to documents obtained by SportsBusiness Journal earlier this month. The cuts will come by consolidating operations, reducing vendors, cutting staff and eliminating excess office space. After the deal closes, WME-IMG will have three owners: Silver Lake Partners will own 50%, WME will own 47% and the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development Co. will own 3%. According to documents written in February, WME planned to raise $2.35B of debt and contribute $1.48B in equity to finance the acquisition and recapitalize the combined companies. Silver Lake and Mubadala planned to contribute $461M in new equity, while WME planned to roll over $1B in existing equity for the deal.
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