The IMG auction shifts to its next phase "with three contenders having made second-round bids for the agency," according to Cynthia Littleton of VARIETY. The pool of those pursuing IMG has winnowed to the three: "WME and its private equity partner Silver Lake; Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group with CVC investment firm; and ICM and private equity giant Carlyle." IMG parent Forstmann Little "had initially hoped to reap" as much as $2.5B for the company. Sources familiar with the situation said that "as the process unfolded and bidders received more detailed financial information, IMG’s ongoing earnings were less rosy than the numbers shared at the outset." Sources indicated that the Chernin Group/CVC bid would come in under the $2B threshold. Details on WME/Silver Lake or ICM/Carlyle "could not be confirmed" (VARIETY, 12/13).
Marketing and Sponsorship
New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko "has signed a management and marketing contract" with IMG Worldwide, according to FAIRFAX NZ NEWS. The 16-year-old is ranked fourth in the women's world rankings "after winning last week's Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in Taiwan, in just her second tournament as a professional." Ko "became the youngest winner in LPGA history when she claimed the 2012 Canadian Women's Open at age 15." IMG "represents fellow women's golfers Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda, Beatriz Recari and Jaye Marie Green." Ko said, "My family and I spoke with many candidates and IMG emerged as the clear choice to represent me, in large part because of their global reach" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 12/13).
Liverpool footballer Kolo Toure "has signed a boot deal with Warrior Football." The agreement "will see the Ivorian defender wear" the brand's Skreamer range of football boots. He "joins the likes of Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill as an ambassador of the American brand" (SOCCEREX, 12/13). ... Reigning Chinese Super League and AFC Champions League champion Guangzhou Evergrande FC has "entered into a two-year partnership with Unilver-owned brand Clear." The agreement, which was brokered by Octagon, "forms part of the brand’s new strategic advertising campaign targeted at 18 to 35-year-old men" (SOCCEREX, 12/12). ... Sports apparel brand Warrior "has agreed a four-year kit deal" with Irish football side Shamrock Rovers. The New Balance subsidiary, "which also has a kit deal in place with Liverpool FC, will manufacture the club’s home and away kits for the next four seasons," with the '14 and '15 kits unveiled on Thursday. The deal "marks Warrior’s first Irish partnership" (SOCCEREX, 12/12). ... Cricket Australia announced a partnership with Redfrogs Australia, with a pilot activity in the Perth Commonwealth Bank Ashes Test. At each day of the test, Redfrogs volunteers will be offering 1,500 cups of water, 500 icy poles and red frog lollies to fans (Cricket Australia).