By Nadia Damouni and Soyoung Kim
NEW YORK Feb 20 Private equity firm Forstmann
Little & Company has decided to put its sports and modeling
talent agency IMG up for sale and is in the process of picking
an investment bank to lead the effort, three people familiar
with the matter said.
The decision to shop IMG, which represents top tennis player
Novak Djokovic and supermodel Gisele Bundchen and owns the
rights to numerous sports leagues, is being driven by the
trustee that runs the estate of Teddy Forstmann - IMG's former
chairman and chief executive who died in 2011, the people said.
IMG, which Forstmann bought for $750 million in 2004, could
now fetch more than $2 billion in a sale, two of the people
said, asking for anonymity because the matter is not public.
Several investment banks including Goldman Sachs,
JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, The Raine
Group, Barclays, Perella Weinberg Partners and LionTree
Advisors LLC are competing to win a mandate to run the auction,
the people said. A bank is expected to be selected in March,
The sale is expected to draw interest from big entertainment
players ranging from Creative Artists Agency and William Morris
to French media group Lagardere, according to the people
familiar with the matter. Large private equity firms and
billionaires are also expected to participate, the people said.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Barclays and Perella Weinberg
declined to comment. Representatives for Morgan Stanley, Raine
Group and LionTree Advisors were not immediately available for
Mike Dolan, chairman and chief executive of IMG said
recently that a potential sale by owner Forstmann Little is not
an issue for IMG to focus on as it concentrates instead on the
day-to-day running of the business. An IMG spokesperson did not
have further comment.
A representative for Forstmann Little was not immediately
available for comment.
Forstmann Little has been holding on to the IMG investment
for longer than a typical investment period for private equity,
and has for years rebuffed overtures from prospective buyers.
Buyout interest increased following Teddy Forstmann's departure
in April 2011 as IMG chairman and CEO, and his death later that
Notable buyers that had approached Teddy Forstmann included
former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel, who was willing to pay $1.5
billion in 2008. Sources told Reuters at the time that Teddy
Forstmann wanted at least twice the amount.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld litigation partner Mark
MacDougall and corporate practice co-chair J. Kenneth Menges,
Jr., are managing the wind down of Teddy Forstmann's private
equity empire. The firm tried to exit its investment with 24
Hour Fitness last year but the process has since stalled.