Sources Say IMG Cuts List Of Bidders To Five As TPG Knocked Out Of Running
Sources said that Forstmann Little & Co. "cut the field of bidders" for its IMG talent agency to five, "knocking out a joint bid from TPG Capital and Creative Artists Agency," according to Welch, Xu & McCracken of BLOOMBERG. Silver Lake Management, KKR & Co., CVC Capital Partners and Carlyle Group "are still vying with each other for the business," which may fetch more than $2.5B, the people said, "asking not to be identified because the information is private." N.Y.-based Forstmann Little "cut the list from 12 bidders after a Nov. 7 deadline." The departure of TPG and Creative Artists, "which had been seen as among the front-runners," pits Silver Lake and its partner, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, against CVC, owner of the F1 car-racing series. Spokespersons for TPG, KKR, CVC, Silver Lake and Forstmann Little "all declined to comment, while a spokesman for Washington-based Carlyle wasn’t available to comment." Forstmann Little "has told bidders" that the company has $200M a year (BLOOMBERG, 11/12). In Hollywood, Cynthia Little wrote sources said "IMG’s rivalry in the sports representation and marketing business with CAA may have played a part in the latter getting axed." The companies have had "a testy relationship for the past decade" after several top IMG reps "migrated with key clients to the CAA fold," as the agency aggressively built its sports business under President Richard Lovett. IMG insiders, some of whom may want to stay with the company after a sale, "were cautious about giving the CAA-TPG team a close look at the books because they are direct competitors in many arenas." A source close to the deal said CAA "has no intention of fielding a sweetened bid" (VARIETY, 11/12).