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Volume 24 No. 156

Labor and Agents

British tennis star Andy Murray again shuffled his management team this week, bringing on board Lagardere for commercial deals. Lagardere replaces Mahesh Bhuphati, the highly ranked doubles player who briefly managed Murray’s commercial business. Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, which for years handled Murray’s commercial business and recently shifted to strategy, will indirectly stay involved. Fuller remains as a non-executive director of 77, the company that Murray formed after winning Wimbledon in July, becoming the first British man to do so in 77 years. Tennis insiders say IMG made a strong push for Murray’s business, widely seen as under sold, but lost out to Lagardere, which has been wooing Murray for several years. Murray last year spurned Lagardere and IMG when he shuffled his management team. He dropped CAA, which handle only his on-court affairs, and formed a venture with Fuller and Bhuphati called XIX/Globosport. That venture though quickly fizzled out. Murray has four significant deals, including adidas and Head. The racket deal ends next year and adidas is up in '15. He also has deals with watch company Rado and RBS. Matt Gentry, the former XIX exec who runs 77, says Murray hoped to brand himself not just in the UK, but the U.S. and Asia. Lagardere has made a niche in the U.S. representing American players, who may not be on top of the sport but are the best the U.S. has to offer. These players include No. 14-ranked John Isner and No. 47 Sam Querrey. The company also represents Victoria Azarenka, the No. 2-ranked WTA singles player, as well as the Bryan brothers. John Tobias, who runs the tennis group at Lagardere, will handle Murray’s business, along with Gawain Davies, who joined Lagardere from IMG this year. He was VP in IMG’s tennis division. He will remain based in Barcelona. Ugo Colombini, an Italian tennis agent, will manage Murray’s tennis exhibition business.