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Volume 24 No. 157
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Industry Leaders Sound Off On Impact IMG Sale Will Have On Company, Business

After the IMG sale to William Morris Endeavor was announced, a number of sports execs talked to Editor-at-Large Terry Lefton about what it means. The following are excerpts, and see our On The Ground blog for more.

* Octagon President & CEO Rick Dudley: "The departure of key people is a concern and certainly something we¹re going to keep an eye on. Whether it is people or clients or business they might decide to shed, we are going to be looking at those as opportunities."

* Former IMG exec Rob Prazmark, currently a principal at 21 Marketing: "With a stroke of a pen, WME just became a global sports giant, something that puts them way ahead of CAA in the battle of Hollywood supremacy. It will take decades for anyone to catch WME now."

* Trager Group Chair Mike Trager: "I am surprised at the final closing purchase price, if it is accurate. Based on the $170 million in EBIDA, that is a heck of a multiple and WME must believe that there are significant savings to be gained by the acquisition. I am also interested to see what role Mark Shapiro will play in all of this. It seems to me that the success of CAA in sports might have been a motivating factor in the aggressive bid by WME."

* Premier Partnerships President Randy Bernstein: "It will be fun to see the sports and entertainment shootout between IMG and CAA. Both companies will be pitching for bragging rights for athletes, entertainers, properties and rights holders. Let the games begin."

* Marketing consultancy Focalsport Principal Mark Noonan: "It all comes down to the fit of the cultures and personalities. Synergies that look logical on paper require people with egos to compromise and execute. Remember SFX? I believe there will be some strategic culling of assets, but the bulk will remain intact. End of one storied icon, beginning of another."

* Inner Circle Sports Partner Steve Horowitz: "The years of investment IMG has in the international market and power in the far reaches of the world will be the hidden gem here. Adding entertainment to the offerings around the world will be very powerful."

* Scout Sports & Entertainment Managing Partner Michael Neuman: "This creates instant credibility in sports for WME and a two-horse race with CAA as the leading entity to harness the power of sports and entertainment for their clients."

* USA Today Sports Media Group Senior VP/Leagues & Properties Merrill Squires: "It will be interesting to see what assets remain in tact, including people. I think there is immediate impact in the industry and could be great potential for prospective buyers to look at spin off assets that have further industry impact."

* Paragon Marketing Group Exec VP & Partner Tony Schiller: "To the extent that employment agreements allow, I think we will see numerous former IMG exec's launching their own businesses, as well as migrating to smaller shops."

Read other thoughts

Compiled by Terry Lefton.