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Volume 21 No. 6
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Learfield-IMG College deal moves along

Learfield President and CEO Greg Brown offered few clues about the timing of his company’s massive merger with IMG College and when the Department of Justice review might wrap up.

“There’s really nothing to talk about,” Brown, who notoriously keeps such information close to the vest, said at the Learfield reception the night before the game on the 14th floor of Ventanas in downtown Atlanta.

The longtime Learfield executive, who built the company from its Midwestern roots into a multimedia behemoth, has run point on the merger, which will fold IMG’s college business into Learfield’s, giving them rights at a combined 210 schools and nearly all of the power five.

But sources said there has been some slight movement on the merger front, with the Department of Justice moving it to what’s called a “second request.” That means the DOJ wants more information from Learfield and IMG College.

Heaping more stress onto the merger is the fact that Learfield’s chief operating officer, Marc Jenkins, is leaving the company to become CEO of Patron, a ticketing company that does not compete with Learfield.

Jenkins, along with Brown, Chief Legal Officer John Raleigh, Chief Revenue Officer Andy Rawlings and Chief Administrative Officer Temple Weiss, has been integral in the merger process. Jenkins also takes the lead on integrating new acquisitions, like Paciolan last year, into Learfield and he oversees the extended business lines.

Taking their boss’s lead, however, Learfield’s senior team has adopted an approach that seems to be working at ESPN as well — heads down, keep marching, business as usual.

— Michael Smith